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"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks.  Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story." ~Linda Hogan

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Sense of Wonder Woods

Watercolor painting

18" x 12" Powder-based Watercolor Painting on Watercolor Paper

Sense of Wonder Woods Painting

Sometimes our sense of wonder goes dormant.  As with laughter, we can forget to incorporate it into our life.  Sometimes people go years or even decades without being awed.  But we can all experience that sensational sense of wonder.   

I find it substantial that awe and wonder are universal qualities; I'm convinced that a daily moment or two of awe will increase joy and stimulate mental and spiritual renewal.  It's so simple, it only takes a brain, deep interest and the right place or idea to achieve wonder and awe. 

Forests a simple and natural place for awe.  There is so much in a forest in addition to the society of trees.  The forest floor, the forest ceiling or canopy.  The insects; plants; the animals; fungi and variety of living beings is phenomenal.  Every forest is a kingdom, a world in it's own right.  Every clean forest is a precious ecosystem as well as a generator of health for the land or waters surrounding it.  

Every part of every forest is precious, but the essence of a forest is Trees.  This painting is simplifies the forest and attempts to capture the essence of a it.  It is based on a black and white photo found in a great little book called The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson.  Carson is best known for her groundbreaking environmental book Silent Spring.  Although The Sense of Wonder does not have the same social impact as Silent Spring, it is nonetheless a gem.  She shares great insight about nature, forests and children among other things.

The Sense of Wonder is also a peaceful picture book with nature photographs by Charles Pratt and other photographers from the 1960s.  The photos aren't intended to mirror Carson's words, but they do a nice job to compliment them and bring out a sense of wonder.  

I named this painting Sense of Wonder Woods since it was inspired by the black and white photo found in the [beginning of] book.  The painting is a simplified version of that photo, which is a lovely composition of the forest, it's floor, leaves, grasses and even the profile of a little boy who is walking in front of the trees. 

There is a Zen-like quality to words and photos within the book.  Carson and the photographers take us on a journey as she and her young grand-nephew, Roger, wander about nature.  Along the way, Carson reveals insights into creation, education, teaching, children, art and life.  One thing that sticks in my mind is that she discusses how she doesn't push or force Roger to explore, but rather trusts in his innate curiosity and desire to learn to discover the wonder and joy, which is waiting to be found in forests and throughout nature.  In this spirit I created the Sense of Wonder Woods.

 

Sense of Wonder Woods Watercolor Painting

 

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