Sunday, June 26, 2011

Clearing the mind and sharpening the senses...

Painting in nature gives me the quietude I need to clear the clutter from my head so I can immerse myself in the incredible world around me, appreciating the fascinating diversity of flora, fauna, colors and design.  As I settle in, I become aware of the smell of the grass and the pine needles baking in the sand.  My ears start tuning in to the music of nature: the call of the birds, the rustle of a critter in the bushes, the cicadas and grunts of alligators. As I focus in on the subject I am painting I become keenly aware of changes around me. I keep a camera handy to record the unexpected and the beautiful. I remember a precious moment of one hot day in particular.  I had my easel up against a bush to try and catch a bit of the shade when suddenly a little bird landed on a twig which was caught on the top corner of my easel.  Knowing the bird would never stand still for me to reach for my camera, I caught my breath and held my brush in mid-air so I could memorize the moment.  I identified it later as a blue-gray gnatcatcher, a bird I had never seen before!  Obviously it flew away, so I cannot share a picture with you, but here is another one I took in Paynes Prairie.  Is this bird enjoying life, or what!?!

Mary Jane Volkmann

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