Nature surrounds us. We only have to step outside, and we come face to face with at least one natural element. Artists have been influenced by nature in many ways, from Gainsborough’s landscapes to Goldsworthy’s land art to art created with materials derived from nature: charcoal, clay, graphite, etc.
On March 13th, 2020, I left work, thinking I would return in two weeks. I was a Visual Art teacher at a high school in North Carolina. We did not go back. Instead, I was left with two days to transition my curriculum online. I had the foresight to send my students home with their sketchbooks and made sure they all had something to draw with, to make marks with.
After the first few weeks of transitioning and coping, I received feedback from students on how they were dealing with the demands of online school and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were in a period of flux. We needed to rest our minds. I began to plan a series of student-centered, low-key, hands-on, accessible activities. The objective was to create art to help relax and to connect with nature.
Art is therapeutic and supports self-discovery, self-esteem, emotional release and stress relief. Creating art also stimulates the release of dopamine. Here are some of the activities. Two of them use nature, and the other is mindfulness through playing with watercolor. I hope they offer you a chance to connect with nature and practice mindfulness…