When writing about a subject, it helps to know it well. With a background in ecology, I have a natural curiosity for wildlife and spend a lot of time observing both plants and animals in their natural environment. When I am not writing about nature, I am drawing it and it is through my artwork that I get to understand the subject on a whole new level …
I currently have four diaries on the go; I add to each of them most days and they differ in their focus. Last weekend, I started a fifth: an art nature-diary.
It happened by accident. I recently acquired a new sketchbook and was compelled to draw the emerging spring flowers that have begun lighting up our garden’s borders – living on a rather wild hilltop, our flora is typically a couple of weeks behind everywhere else, so it seems like a double celebration when we finally have new growth appear.
What began as a few minutes of light sketching, soon absorbed my focus completely as I studied the flowers in greater detail, adding notes as I went and noticing things about them that I hadn’t been aware of before.
I know through drawing detailed portraits of wildlife (KatePriestmanArt.com), how enlightening the experience of drawing is in terms of understanding the subject on a whole new level – in order to draw the animal accurately, there is a need to really try to understand aspects such as the ecology and adaptations of the subject; the textures of its skin, hide or fur; and the shape of the underlying skeleton beneath, so as to channel that through the pencil and onto the paper.
All of this close analysis provides inspiration for my writing and a deeper understanding.