Another peaceful promenade in Council Point Park this morning. I was up at 5:30 a.m. doing household chores so I deemed I’d earned my “me time” and thus headed out at 8:00 a.m. for a walk. I use the word “sketchbook” today for this blog post because my path through the Park reminded me of some photos and passages from a book entitled “Nature’s Sketchbook” by Dutch artist and author Marjolein Bastin. Bastin was featured in many Hallmark collectibles and my mom and I had several cardinal Christmas ornaments and we bought her greeting cards exclusively through the years. She was a naturalist whose soft-focus artwork entailed scenes of wooded or marshy areas, garden delights — butterflies, bees, bunnies, and various birds and their offspring. So, today as I walked through the park the trail evoked memories of so much of Bastin’s artwork. As I began the circular pathway, Canada geese milled about in the two baseball diamonds cackling noisily. Then, the ever-present Red-winged blackbirds perched on fallen trees, their warbling songs filling the air as I strolled past them. A few bunnies went bopping by in search of clover and high grass and I later caught up with them munching contently. It was a little breezy and I saw a mallard duck swimming solo in the rippled bend of the creek. My eyes were darting back and forth in search of the Canada Geese mates and their goslings. I peered through a thicket of bushes which turned out to be the familiar scent of honeysuckle. I breathed in deep, drinking in the intense aroma – mmmmm, so nice and very heady. And, then I saw them – the pair of geese with their goslings tucked into a small brush-filled alcove. The little ones were strutting about as their parents warily watched me and their offspring as well. Thankfully, I immersed my head amongst the honeysuckle blossoms or I surely would have missed the family, I scurried back to the footpath lest I should disturb them more than I already had. One the way home, I thought again about Marjolein Bastin and her work and recalled myself as a budding artist. When I was in my teens, I took art classes and we went on many trips to various Downriver venues to hone our sketching skills. The only medium we ever used was charcoals/pastels. I got pretty proficient with my charcoal and pastel renderings and I enjoyed the classes immensely. I have not thought about sketching and drawing in many years. I packed all my sketching pads, drawing tools and art books into my powder blue briefcase my parents bought when I graduated from college, and at that time I remarked to my mom that it was a hobby I would resume when I retired. She kind of harrumphed at that statement, but nonetheless surprised me one Christmas with an exquisite coffee table book entitled “A Sketchbook of Birds” ; I have occasionally paged through this book which details how to draw every type of bird imaginable. She had faith in me that I would put the book to good use, so as I write this, I am silently pledging to my mom that the first sketch I make will be in her memory. For now, I’ll quell the urge to retrieve my sketchbook and charcoals since soon my presence will be needed out in the garden to tend to the roses and butterfly bushes and unfortunately will be encroaching on my walking time as well. Perhaps in the Winter when I am hunkered down in the house, peering out the window at the mounting snow, I will start up again. Perhaps being the “artiste” will be as easy and enjoyable to pick up where I left off decades ago as it was to start writing this blog so many years after graduating from college with a journalism degree which has never been used. In the interim, I will just enjoy Mother Nature’s offerings “in person”. When I got home I flicked some cherry blossom petals that had landed in my hair, but the picturesque images I saw today were not to be as easily cast aside, but instead cherished as an interlude in my daily routine and to be carried in my mind until my next trip there. Likewise inspired by nature as is Marjolein Bastin, I will close this post with her quote below:
Those who look with their eyes and heart discover there is so much natural beauty around us to enjoy and admire.
I see every day as a new gift, full of new discoveries which I want to share with everyone through my artwork.