Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Finding Inspiration

    We are so lucky to live in a beautiful place- I know I have said it before but I will say it again- we are surrounded by beauty on the West Coast. I grew up in a nature loving household and I would venture a guess that is the reason why I find so much inspiration out in the natural world- the patterns, colour combinations and textures are enticing and being outside is so good for my soul. It is a bit of a no-brainer then for me to say that outdoors and nature is where I get a lot of my ideas for our kids art projects as well as inspiration for "lessons" in the natural world.

The above is really one of my all time favourite colour combinations- sandy grey, white, the grey green of the ocean punctuated by the red from a swimming buoy.  It is a completely natural combination that takes no effort- this on it's own is a painting- the trick is teaching your eye to look for "paintings" where ever you are.

A run on the beach yields multiple lessons- and I use this term loosely-  what many refer to as Un-schooling I refer to as life lessons- does learning ever stop at 3pm when the bell rings? The beach really is one of the best classrooms available- learning about the different shells, sea plants and other creatures that inhabit the beach are one conversation. The tide and the moon another. The effects of the wind on the waves is yet another.

    So we gather our inspiration here on this beach- some like these shells get put into our buckets to be taken home. Sand fills our pockets along with beach glass and stones- why are they so smooth Momma? How does the sand get so tiny? Why is this crab dead? All lessons to be learned and held onto.

 A curly bit of bark has made it's way home with us-  what sort of tree do we think this comes from? Outside we go once again to match this wee bit of bark to a tree in our neighbourhood.

    Our trip to the beach is considered the next day- buckets emptied out and shells examined then our minds start to work overtime. What colours do we remember from yesterday? What shapes and textures? How can we make the froth from the waves on the shore? Was the ocean flat and one colour? What noise do we remember? This is the conversation we have as we start to create a landscape that had it's origins in a morning spent digging in the sand- not doing much of anything!


  1. Awesome! I love natural learning. Learning should definitely be an all the time experience. And your kids are so super cute!

  2. I often wonder at the emphasis placed on "traditional" methods of learning and how the natural world often gets excluded. I find there can be such a disconnect between children and nature which makes an education in nature even more important! For with out this ingrained love of nature how are people supposed to connect with and protect the earth? My mom is the queen of teachable moments so I absolutely learned this from her!

    And thank you- we think they are pretty cute too- might let them stick around for another 15 or so years!


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