Autumn is here – full of conkers, jam making, and long nights drawing in. The hedgerows are full of life and the trees are turning gold to drop their leaves, but most of us spend a lot less time in the natural world than we once did, missing the magic of the changing seasons. I always feel that the autumn months are the beginning of a time spent in quiet craft, a form of creative hibernation, but this is interspersed with brisk walks to blow away the cobwebs and remind me of the inspiration of the world outside.
So many of us have turned to nature for solace during the pandemic, and this has really brought to light the benefits for our physical and mental wellbeing of time spent walking in the natural world. The links between walking or mindful activities and improved health have been widely studied and shown to improve your sleep, mood and self-esteem, as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Creating art is the perfect balance to this; it is a fantastic way to incorporate nature into our home lives and appreciate the world in a different way. It can also provide an additional opportunity for quiet and mindful practice, perfectly suited to a blustery afternoon, cup of tea in hand and paint at the ready.
I am one of those people who unconsciously picks leaves and flowers as I walk, constantly keeping an eye out for things that inspire my work. So, whether it’s a blustery day where the wind whips up the leaves; a mild one, when the sun sets off a fiery display across golden hills and woodlands; or an early cold snap, with a crunch on the ground and a nip in the air, scented with wood-fires, I’ll return home feeling rosy-cheeked and exhausted, ready to put the kettle on and examine my collection.
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