The power to see, to look at something closer than you ever have before: In return, nature will reveal itself to you like never before. It’s a beautiful reward. In Week #1, when we wrote down everything we experienced and saw, the purpose was to enhance our powers of observation. This week, we’re going to take it a step further.
You’ll need your notebook or a sketchbook, a pen and a pencil. We’re going to be heading outside again to observe nature. Start by picking a scene or vignette that’s appealing to you. And add sketching to your notes. Using a tree as an example: What is the curve of that branch? Where is this branch in relationship to that other branch over there? Is it higher or lower, left or right, and by how much? You can use your pencil, held out at full length: Close one eye and use your thumb to measure distances. Your pencil also comes in handy to check the angle of things.
It’s not about getting it perfect. It’s about beginning to see. You have to first learn to really see before you worry about making great art, for seeing is the key to great art.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can add color notes, describing how this green relates to the other green, etc. What is in the light, and what is in shadow? But no actual color this week. Keep this exercise only about pen and pencil, sketching and words.
You should allow a bit more time for this than last week: about 20 minutes a setting, at least — 30 is better. And if you do it every day, just like at summer camp, you’ll be amazed at how much you improve over a week. You’ll be more amazed at how you begin to look at the world differently.
And this is summer camp, after all, so grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine to take with you. Jump in a lake afterwards, or under a hose. Maybe finish it all off with s’mores. It’s your camp — live it up! The most important thing is to have fun. Cheers, campers!