Nature is a perfect place to get away from our lives and relax. But it can be so much more than that. Did you know getting out in nature can help you be more creative? You can take this creative journey anywhere in nature, but in Atlanta, the Chattahoochee Nature Center has you covered. CNC will lead you on the right path with the “Naturally Artistic” exhibit, on now through November 30.
One of the easiest ways to get those creative juices flowing is by journaling. This is a simple way to just observe the world around you and interpret it. Write down or draw what you see on a walk or even while you are just sitting somewhere. Just jot down everything you see and hear, or take a good, close look at some leaves. This is a good way to start thinking how things might be connected or to get a closer look at what’s around you. The more you sit and observe, the more you take in and are aware of what’s around you. (This also can help with mindfulness!)
Poetry is a great way to help us focus on the things we love most about nature. Think of something special that speaks to you, then put it to paper and write it down. It can be a haiku (a short, three-line poem of five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables), or a more freeform creation. Think about how you feel and try to put that into words. It’s not as easy as you might think, but being in a peaceful place without distractions can help.
Stop, close your eyes, and listen hard. What do you hear? Tap into your inner musician as you try to recreate nature’s symphony. Each bird has a unique song – how do they all fit together? Especially in the early morning or evening, different birds come out and fill the skies with their calls.
“I’m all about sitting spots in the forest where you can go out and get quiet and contemplate,” said Dr. Tom Howick, CNC’s Education Director, in Georgia Forestry Magazine. “I think it’s like a symphony sometimes… I love being in nature like that.”
Just like poetry was turning what is around you into words, art is putting it in a visual form. Colors, textures, different materials, they can all be used to transform a piece of paper into art. Try making a rubbing or a leaf by rubbing a colored pencil or crayon over a piece of paper, laid on top of the leaf. See how the veins of the leaf stand out? The paper, type of pencil, and how hard you rub can all change how the rubbing turns out.
Finally, how can you interpret what is around you into something creative? Building something helps reflect on what you’ve seen or heard. It can be especially fun to recreate what you see around you – animals, trees, flowers. The Japanese art of origami is a fun way to literally turn your paper into art. What animals can you create?
The beauty of these activities is they are accessible to all ages and skill levels. And they can be done year-round. In fact, try interpreting, drawing, or journaling about the same things in all four seasons. How do they change? Be sure to get outside and look around you. You’ll never be disappointed.
The Naturally Artistic exhibit at the Chattahoochee Nature Center runs through the end of November. It is open daily and is included with general admission to CNC. For more information, go here.