Wednesday, February 29, 2012

the Artist and the Naturalist

Last week, a friend loaned me a book by Hannah Hinchman entitled Little Things in a Big Country- an artist and her dog living on the Rocky Mountain Front. She writes about the change of seasons on her ranch near Augusta, Montana. Her wonderful drawings and artwork make this little gem a visual treat. Each chapter begins with a hand drawn map the describes where she is. Her illustrated maps are one of my favorite parts of the book along with her descriptive text.

Her book reminds me of another favorite book that chronicles a time and place. Henry Beston wrote The Outermost House about his experience living on Cape Cod in the 1920's. Both books made me realize how much I am drawn to artists who are also naturalists- whether poet, painter, writer, photographer or other visual artist.

Poet John Caddy's website, Morning Earth, explores the relationship between expressive art and the natural world. For years, I've admired the work of the artist/naturalists listed here and others. They inspire me and provide a focus for my own artwork. Here's another one of Hannah's books A Life in Hand- creating the illuminated journal.

She was one of the first artists to popularize keeping an illustrated journal as a daily practice. Cathy Johnson attributes Hannah's book to changing how she keeps her own sketchbooks. Cathy is presenting a free online Watercolor Sketching Workshop through Strathmore Papers this month. Her workshop is the second one and starts March 1st. You can register anytime.

All of this inspired me to sketch again. Maybe it's the longing for Spring. I want to become an artist and a naturalist- to be outdoors, write and illustrate my own urban landscape.


Jo Reimer said...

Paula, talk to Marilyn about Hannah Hinchman. A few years back she drove to Montana and took a weeklong workshop from HH.

Paula McNamee said...

Thanks, Jo. I'll give her a call.