Finding Inspiration in Nature

Finding Inspiration in Nature



Having trouble overcoming artist's block? Fantasy watercolor artist Hope Christofferson @hopechristofferson encourages artists to step out of their studios and into the woods to recharge their creativity in the latest Bee Paper blog.

By Hope Christofferson

I’ve always seen inspiration as a hidden jewel that is innate in every person. For me, tapping into creativity is intuitive, which is why I feel most connected to my artistic side when I’m alone in the quietness of the forest. Every old tree or blooming flower seems to have its own story to tell. I feel it’s impossible for me to not feel a sense of wonder and vision whenever I step into the forest. As someone who changes mediums and styles consistently, I use the natural world as the constant that continuously supplies me with a wealth of inspiration to draw from.

Going to museums and galleries and connecting with other artists is an incredibly important aspect of living an informed creative life. That being said, time spent alone processing the work of others, and separating one’s own voice from those they see around them, requires moments of silence and reflection.

Being in the woods engenders a childlike sense of creativity and freedom that isn’t possible in any other setting. With a lack of street signs, buildings, roads, and walls, nature allows people to find a distance from the mundane rigidity of modern life. Basking in the peacefulness when walking alone in the quiet of a park or hiking trail is something that many people forget the importance of doing.

Taking a few moments to sort through ideas and experiences in the stillness of nature is similar to how our minds use dreams during sleep to analyze problems or experiences we’ve had in the past. For me, spending time sketching in the forest is like reading a really good story; I tend to lose track of time and slip into another realm that’s dictated by pure imagination and wonder.

Having always been fascinated with the folklore from times when faeries danced on toadstools and dragons slept in caves, I’m always letting the whimsicality of the natural world influence my work. I love the way tree branches can look like gnarled hands reaching for the stars or how the bright blooms of wildflowers seem to sing tiny songs from forest floor. Letting myself be curious and tell stories for all the little living things that grow in the forest leads to surprising creations that capture some of the magic that can be found in unbridled imagination.

Dealing with artist’s block is a reason for which I’ll turn to the outdoors for a renewed sense of inspiration. I find it helpful to sit with a sketchbook and draw whatever happens to come to mind. I’ll usually take these small drafts and use them as the basis for larger pieces later on.

The spontaneous way the forest grows inspires art that is similarly whimsical and unplanned. It’s this in-the-moment channeling of creativity that feels like pure magic; a spell anyone can learn to cast. If you take the time to let your mind wander in the forest, inspiration will find you in the quietness of the trees.

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