Went for a three hour excursion through the woods last week. I didn't intend to be gone that long, but once I am in there time disappears...until I have 10 minutes to find my way out to pick Kieran up at the sitter.
One of my favourite spots to explore is Rockwood Park from the Entrance by the zoo. It is so quiet there and even though there are cars in the parking lot I rarely see anyone while I am walking. There are so may trails and sights to see. My dad lives near by, so I have many memories going there-to fish, canoe, explore, test the water with my little kid eco-kit, find fossils, streams and listen to underground water falls. Any forest, but this one in particular holds a lot of magic for me.
On Friday, armed with my sketchbook, and pencil, I set off into the woods. I took the side trail around Owen lake, and was struck by the silence when I stepped out into the opening by the water. I didn't realize how quiet it really was until I thought I could here breathing-turns out it was just the wings of a raven flying way above me.
While I am out I like to sketch and take notes of what I see, feel, or what thoughts pop into my head. What struck me again and again was that even though I love the forest and the silence-it was also an uneasy feeling. Any noise I heard would usually startle me-usually just birds hoping through the leaves on the ground, or the feeling that something was always there. My thought was that it is because I am not accustomed to the constant eyes that are probably watching me form birds, squirrels to even the presence of the trees, I am also not use to absolute silence-no vehicles, fans, voices, nothing, just the occasional buzz of a dragonfly, or bird flying and hopping about.
It may sound odd, but often when I am out with my sketch book I try and think of the personality of what I am drawing, or what perspective they might have. I few years ago I studied and became certified in Celtic Reiki (which I absolutely adore), and one of the things I do quite often is check in with what is around me and try to be aware, and witness what is going on; from wind in the trees to patterns of growth. I try to approach everything with curiosity. One of my favourite things in the woods is the way light trickles in between the leaves, or the way it highlights different areas of the forest, or sparkles of a stream.
I love birch trees. I really enjoyed painting the one above. The thought that came to mind as I was sketching it was wisdom shedding, or shedding of stories and experiences, releasing them into the wind.
What do you feel when you are out in the woods, or by the water? What do you notice when you are there? Where is your favourite outdoor place to be? What is it about there that brings you back? What inspires you about the outdoors?
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Jennifer Russell was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada.She is an Intentional artist who focuses on creating meaning full connections to her work for herself and others. Nothing is more satisfying to her than hearing that her work has inspired someone in their own life.