Combing Beaches and Foraging in Forests

by | Feb 16, 2021


Over a decade ago, I read Julie Cameron's book, “The Artist Way.”  Like so many artists have experience, it is a wonderful journey and invaluable guide to living the artist life. I gained insight into understanding myself and my creative soul.  I learned to nurture my heart, protect my time and push through life's stop signs. One of the recommendations that Ms. Cameron strongly suggests, is to go on weekly artist dates (field trips) with yourself.  The artist date might be anything from a visit to a museum, a few art galleries, or simply spending time alone in nature.  Whatever one choses, it needs to be at least 2 hours alone exploring with eyes open, not making art.  To this day, I still practice this regularly. 

Foraging has become a joyful artist date that I take myself on regularly.  I love slowing down, breathing the fresh air and practicing mindfulness.  If I am in the forest, I am looking for pine cones, moss and any sweet treasure that catches my eye.  If I am on the beach, I will collect a few stones or shells and driftwood.  On a beach in Ventura there are loads of rocks and boulders. Nothing is more therapeutic than stacking rocks like little sculptures and leaving them behind for the sea to later swallow. It's in this space that I find my most peaceful moments.  It is a time for healing and for just being.  It is a hug for my creative self.

In addition to collecting little treasures, I often stop and take images with my iPhone along the shore.  I am fascinated at how the sea collages its shells, kelp, polished stones and assorted debris into masterpieces along the water's edge.  It's a collaboration of so many things coming together in a tossed up cacophony of perfect.  After my artist dates, I will use the items or the imagery that I collected to inspire my work in the studio.  Sometimes it takes holding onto an item for years before it jumps out and shows me its purpose.  I surround myself with my foraged cache in my home, on my property and in my studio.  Sometimes, just stopping to look at them, pick them up and feel them in my hands can transport me to a moment of serenity.  Worthless to many, but oh so precious to me.  

If you are reading this blog today, and something about the idea of spending time alone in nature appeals to you, then plan a time to add this to your schedule.  You won't be disappointed and who knows what treasures you might find along the way?

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