Help me find inspiration

nanette_rangerOver the years that I’ve written this blog, I’ve told you about my creative journey and my artistic projects. If you’ve followed my work, especially recently, you may have noticed how I’m influenced by nature.

I don’t know exactly where it comes from, because its been with me my entire life. Did I actually develop this appreciation for nature or was it there from my first breath? As a young child, I can spring_RRwetlands1 remember being attracted to the outdoors. I was a tomboy child who loved playing in the mud, messing with earthworms, and picking bouquets of dandy-lions. I would play for hours outside in the yard and never feel bored. It was being stuck inside that made me fidgety for more excitement. In an early autobiography for grade school, I wrote I wanted to be a “conservationist.” (I have no idea where I picked up such a word, its kind a heavy for a child.)

waterfallMy love of nature and wildlife was only reinforced by the annual family camping trips. On these trips, we visited many historic sites, but we also spent a lot of time amongst the trees.

My interest in nature and animals continued into college. In high school I majored in art, but felt I wasn’t good enough to do anything with that (‘cuz I couldn’t draw very well). So, I began studying science. Through my 20’s and 30’s I logged many miles walking through natural landscapes and spent hours, upon hours, mesmerized by some fascinating activities.

I’ve been a first-hand witness to:

Fog lifting and falling over glacier-covered mountain peaks.
The rumble of water over rocks in rivers and waterfalls.
Marmots playing amongst the volcanic stone in a sub-alpine zone.
Velvet ants (which are actually wasps) wandering across firebreaks.
Carnivorous pitcher plants taller than me.
Cottonmouth snakes swimming in the swamp water in which I was standing.
Turkeys perched over my head (yes, Les Nessman, turkey’s do fly!)

flowersI’ve banded federally endangered birds and heard the call of tiny coquí frogs.

I’ve walked through the endangered midwestern prairies collecting blazing star flowers so I could count their tiny seeds.

I walked amongst nesting pelicans on remote islands in the Virgin Islands.

I’ve identified leafless trees in the middle of winter.

And, I’ve eaten wild sumac berries and walked through quaking cranberry bogs.

Of course, this has influenced me. How could it not? When I’m making my art, I’m reminded to stop and take it all in. I’m brought back to my memories of when I was a wildlife biologist (or budding biologist). The memories then come full circle to help me find inspiration.


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