Thursday, 1 November 2012

Nature Art in the Woods.... Rivers and Tides... inspired!


Nature Art Lessons

We have been studying the art of Andy Goldsworthy recently. 
I discovered this interesting "nature artist" through a link over at Tonia's place a few months ago.

There is a wonderful little film called "Rivers and Tides" which follows the processes of his various pieces from conception to creation.


Being made of natural, organic materials, many of his most awe inspiring works last only seconds before disintegrating and returning to the environment in which they were extracted.
This, is part of the beauty of nature art.

The embracing of life from conception to transformation to death to rebirth.

So off we set for our expedition into the woods to create our own pieces of natural concept art.


We carefully collected our materials and pondered what concepts and ideas we wanted our piece to express through them.

Matilda and Bujana found a hollow log with mushrooms and snails inside.

They filled it with a spectrum of different coloured leaves.

Bujana said it was like the circle of the seasons.
It made me think of the birth canal.

That takes a journey through the dark decay of winter's death to the light, tender green of Spring.

A light at the end of the tunnel.

As we worked my senses heightened, becoming more attuned and in sync to the subtle sounds of nature that surrounded me.
I could almost hear the sounds of growing, staining shoots, scurrying insects and leaves in the midst of decay, buried deep.

The divine hand of the creator guiding each tender shoot toward the sky and each sodden leaf towards the deep roots of new life.
The musty wood scents rustled through my being.
Telling me secrets without words.

At one point Bujana exclaimed, "I need some more bright yellow leaves."

At which the woodland canopy instantly shivered and down descended a confetti of yellow!
"Look, God blew on the trees for me." She remarked.

I couldn't help but agree in smiling wonder!

Bujana made a season rainbow of leaves.

I loved watching how carefully she selected each leaf.

She was very specific about the shade, shape and position of each one.
The way the children made their art and how they responded to it revealed so much about their individual characters.


Bujana was very concerned that the wind might blow her creation to pieces so she attempted to "stick" each leaf down to the tree stump with mud.
Matilda was more interested in the materials themselves and the process of creating rather than the realizing of a specific idea into an end product.

She was much more flexible about working with the materials and her pieces changed happily, lucidly and organically through their





Emmy being a little older, embraced the concept of the transitory nature of organic art.
She was fascinated to think of how the piece would be changed by the wind, walkers, dogs, the rain and other environmental conditions.

I love the journey these leaves are going on!

All the way through the seasons and back again.


A Photographic Journal

Boo says I should explain that Chicken of the Woods is a mushroom.

As soon as we arrived at the lake Nola was wanting to throw all caution (and her clothes) to the wind and paddle. Yes we've got to the fearless stage already.

After some breathless moments and zealous squealing, which caused the neighbouring ducks to chatter, quack, ruffle their feathers and hastily gather their ducklings to the far bank, she found a nice sitting stump where she could gleefully throw twigs and leaves into the water without hindrance.

Nola, thankfully, loves to find little tree stumps or cosy spots to sit upon. She'll say "Nola size, Nola size", when she finds one that takes her fancy.
Although there were still a couple of close calls as the moss near the sloping edge was especially slippery and she enjoyed the sensation of sliding on it a little more than was ideal for a Mama who had forgotten to pack a change of clothes.

Boo found a place to begin her nature art project.

She became instantly industrious, gathering and composing, and arranging and re-arranging without interruption.

I love watching her focus on something deeply.

She is a thoughtful child and needs time to be alone and unhurried.

There was hardly a soul in sight.

There is a magic that happens when you just sit still in the middle of nature.

You notice all the intricate worlds of insects, silently growing plants, underwater life and the profound simplicity of the animal kingdom.

These ducks played with both girls.

Mama duck watched contentedly from some distance as they bobbed and dipped for twigs and leaves.
They came so close and even let Boo touch them!

I can't adequately describe how thrilled Boo my little bird lover was by this interaction. It was beautiful. I was so grateful.

Mama duck seemed to trust us with her babies.

I said a quiet thank you from one Mother to another.

Of course, it wasn't long before the shoes were discarded in favour of bare feet on damp,cool moss and, squidgy, dark earth.

 I love these toes.

The nails are a bit wonky, she has a thing for nibbling on her toenails.

Not a habit that will wear well with age perhaps but somehow irresistible cuteness for a squishy two year old.

Fresh water clams are prevalent here and the water's so clear they're easy to find.

 Boo's flora and fauna waterfall from two angles.

I love her bark and wood chip "fungi" emerging from the tree stump from it's circle of green fern leaves!

 Boo says it looks like a giant  buried pine cone :) I think this is true. And all the better for it!

Woodland delicacy.

The hues of wild and woodland flowers are so incredibly nuanced and hardly ever replicated by their cultivated cousins.

Streams just make me want to take off my shoes and paddle.

This squirrel spent the whole time nibbling away while watching us intently and quite calmly from the corner of his beady, shining eye.

Boo has a way with animals.

She got close enough to touch him but didn't.

He quite slowly and nonchalantly, for a squirrel, ambled up the pine next to her looking down from every branch on the way up as if to say, are you going to come and play then?
Five minutes after this picture was taken, a full blown thunderstorm descended upon us.

We took shelter beneath a graciously large Beech.

It was well past lunch and we were all starting to notice it after about 10 minutes of thunder, lightning and pelting rain and the sense of adventure had worn somewhat thin for certain small members of the expedition.

Boo, resourceful as usual, went into scavenger mode and plucked a handful of young, tender beech leaves  and insisted we should keep our strength up. We gladly obliged and wiled away the next 5 minutes chewing.

(They are quite fibrous)

"How do they taste to you?" asked she (with certain trepidation).

"Mmmm, Very healthy." I replied.

Luckily she seemed adequately satisfied with this answer.

Sunlight after rain in the garden.

Bejewelled sunlit rain drops.

 I love to focus in on one close detail and let the background fall into bokeh. A word I've only just learnt the name of.

Now all my blurry photos have their own technical terminology!

I always thought there was something romantic about blurry pictures anyway.

 Nola never tires of the outdoors.

She is also very diligent with her watering of the flowers, which is an admirable thing, although they didn't really need it after today's downpour.

Still, I didn't have the heart to tell her.

She has her very own pink watering can after all.

Nola adores Fina and idolizes her every move. Fina loves to "learn" her everything she knows.

Lord help me :)

And then they found  mud.

Yes, I am now the proud owner of my very own backyard swamp!

Children and mud are, for better or worse, the very best of play fellows. 

I now have a very interesting looking porch and bathroom.  

Matilda did however declare it "the best day forever!"

Our nature art inspiration...


  1. Oh how grand it is to journey with you today!!! You always have such wonderful photos and the delight of the children is so grand! Thank you! Cathy

  2. oh suzy, what a potpouri of lessons you give your children, and us... walking there in the woods with you, feeling God's spray of yellow on your delighted daughter, his breath on my cheek... ((thank you))

  3. What creativity they show ...

  4. I think this post is what made me fall in love with your blog. :)
    I just love it. I'm so glad you're sharing it with us again.

  5. I followed your link from Ordinary Life Magic. Love your blog. Your photography is amazing. Your daughters are beautiful.

  6. Thank you for the lovely comment Daienne!

  7. Beautiful photos. I love the line of leaves in all their varying colours :-)

  8. lovely and inspiring :) thanks for sharing!

  9. beautiful nature art work!!!

  10. What a neat idea! I stopped by to thank you so much for your encouraging comment on my guest post at Imperfect Prose. :)

  11. I just love this! Thank you so much for sharing it. My little boy is always keen to make 'leaf pictures' xx


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