For centuries artists have been inspired by the natural world. Van Gogh spent hours observing natural landscapes, Frida Kahlo adorned her paintings with the beauty of flowers, and Georgia O’Keeffe journeyed in to the mysteries of the desert. Ancient cultures embellished their temples with images of medicinal plants, and modern religions fill their altars with offerings of fruits and flowers. The human connection to trees, plants, flowers, and animals can be found in visual depictions from every culture.
This connection to the natural world helps us to awaken our perception if we take the time to see it. We are living in a fast-paced society and the majority of our days are spent connected to technology rather than observing natural beauty. In fact many of us have disconnected from our ability to actually see Nature. We are so programmed to put objects into categories that we forget to see the unique details and individuality that is right in front of us.
When we engage in the artistic process, and practice our ability to see, we provoke parts of our brain that help us to solve problems creatively. We awaken a wider scope of perception that encourages us to look at situations from new viewpoints. A great exercise anyone can do to achieve this is to go outside and draw! However, too many of us have mental blocks around this type of activity. We think we can’t draw, or we believe art needs to be a certain way. These stories we tell ourselves can leak in to other aspects of our lives, keeping us from taking risks and causing us to doubt our intuition. These stories are what block our ability to think creatively.
The marriage of the natural world and art is a great way to ignite new pathways in the brain. We can use herbs and essences to give us the push we need to connect and be creative. If you lack confidence, try taking the essence of Larch. If you are seeking an original idea, try the essence of Chestnut Bud. When you are drawing a medicinal plant, take it internally at the same time to deepen the experience. The truth is that we are not separate from Nature. We are Nature. Let’s learn from the artists who have come before us and find that connection to ourselves, to our creativity, and to our own unique Nature.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau
Cultivating Creativity and Awakening New Perceptions: November 18, 6-8 pm at the Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism.
Questions? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hetland, Lois; Winner, Ellen; Veenema, Shirley; Sheridan Kimberly M. (2007) Studio Thinking. New York. New York; Teachers College Press.
McCracken, Court (2013) Art Nurture. Asheville, North Carolina; Self Published
Pink, Daniel H. (2005) A Whole New Mind. New York, New York; Penguin Group
Williams, Heather C. (2002) Drawing as a Sacred Activity. Novato, California. The New Library