Creating with Nature
Updated: Mar 25, 2022
Nature has always been my muse. I’m often awestruck by its beauty and am endlessly playing with ways of capturing its never ending and everlasting beauty. While I create, I also take into consideration that I play an important role in the cycle of life, and want to tread lightly. My hope is that you can learn vicariously through me so you can connect deeply with nature in creative and reciprocal ways with as little hiccups as possible.
Here are a few things I have learned over the years from nature:
When making eco-art, consider your impact on the land you’re on. I always recommend using what you find on the land to create ephemeral pieces with materials that are moveable and ones you won’t harm (please, don’t pick the plants unless you know what you’re doing, like properly identifying the plant and knowing that it is not threatened or one that will harm you). Consider the materials you bring, too. Will they stay once you leave? Or will they travel along with you?
When I make wave imprints, I use paper that comes home with me. I use ink that I have made from the charcoal found on the beach or in the general area. Bits of charcoal will be washed away with the tides regardless of if I activate it into ink or leave it on the beach. I’d recommend taking great care when it comes to your direct impact on the waters you’re creating with, be it at home or in nature.
Stay away from store-bought inks, paints, and anything plastic-based (acrylic paints, sparkles, etc). Do you research to see what the ingredients are in everything you use when creating eco-art or collaborative nature art work. I’d also recommend not using watercolour paints, even if they are non-toxic, as they are typically made from artificial pigments, or stones found around the world and are therefore not local to where you are creating.
I have heard the argument that all the chemicals dumped into the ocean by corporations, barges, et cetera are the issue, which is true, but rather than pointing fingers or engaging in activities you know are unethical, choose the higher road and build a personal reciprocal relationship with the Earth and take note of the positive impact you have on it by the small changes you are making on an individual level.
Always properly identify what you would like to use in your creation before you touch it. Just because you find it in nature and it looks natural does not mean it’s safe and non-toxic to use. When in doubt, let it be.
You don’t need to use materials found in nature to connect with her. Just by being there and spending time with her, you are making a positive impact. Bring your paints and paper, your instrument of choice, yourself in however you create and sit with her, listen for her guidance. Breathe and create.
Be mindful of the other beings around you. Again, don’t pick anything you don’t know, or take food sources from wild animals. When creating eco-art, only use what you have and be ever so mindful of what you take. Find a few rocks, leaves, or sticks on the ground? Are they easily moveable? Can you properly identify them? These are generally fine unless it’s against the law to do so where you are (like in national parks, some provincial or even municipal lands have rules as well). Find pretty flowers in the field? Consider the pollinators that need these, and other beings who come to enjoy them, and let them be. Find a branch of cherry blossoms that broke off during a storm? Lucky you! This is moveable, and fair game.
Respect the water. Don’t put paint into the waterways. Even if it’s just a little. This isn’t supportive of the water or those who depend on it for their lives. Karmically, what you put in the water will come back to you, so add love, gratitude, and positivity. Add materials you found at the beach that are natural to that area and already present. Keep your other art supplies for your regular practice, and most importantly connect with nature in ways of care and love.
Kaitlyn Beugh's mission is to assist you in fostering a soulful connection to self and the natural world through creation and intention. She is an interdisciplinary visual artist and energy healer. Her art practice plays on the ephemeral, and is intuitively channeled and created in a flow state.
She lives, works, and plays on the unceded land of the Coast Salish First Nations. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts with a minor in Social Practice and Community Engagement from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and has a background in social services.
Kaitlyn is a practicing artist and has some of her artwork for sale in the form of original pieces via her website here. Kaitlyn is currently studying herbalism and connecting deeper with the energies of plants and natures cycles.
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