We will start this journey with my trip to the Pacific Northwest. My husband, my biggest critic and my biggest supporter, granted me the chance of a lifetime. I flew out to Whidbey Island to Coupeville, WA for a week long class at the Pacific Northwest Art School.
I will talk about the class in detail in a subsequent blog. For now, I want to talk about the experience of place and how it changed me.
Every morning, I awoke early to walk along the beach while enjoying my first cup of coffee of the day. I always took my camera along with me to document anything and everything that I found interesting. Most people return from trips with tons of pictures of tourist stops. I returned with pictures of moss, bark, mussels, seaweed, sand patterns, pebbles, birds, insects, wood, flowers, and anything else that influenced my experience of place.
Having graduated from Design School 18 years ago, I know how to look at the world through a different filter. However, over the years I had forgotten to stop and look at the world through this filter.....to really look..... For me, finding that again was the most important part of this journey.
So, I challenge you to start your day tomorrow really looking at the world. Pay attention to the little things:
- the patterns in tree bark
- all the different varieties of moss or mushrooms growing in your neighborhood
- the darker patterns in the road cracks after a rain shower
- shadows on the side of a building
- the lines of the veins in leaves
- peeling paint
- rust patterns on old metal
Look at ordinary things and find the beauty in them the colors, the lines, and the textures. The more you practice this the more often you will find yourself automatically "seeing" and enjoying the world around you. This will translate into your art and if not will at least improve your day and your experience of place.
Experience of place was a saying used often in my Architectural Design classes in college. It refers to your psychological, emotional, or biological response to a place or room. As I prefer the outdoors, I think of experience of place more outside the boundaries of four walls.