Inspired by Nature

In Inspired by Nature, life-long sketchbook artist Marjolein Bastin writes that her sketchbooks reflect what fascinates her in nature … butterflies and bumblebees, fluttering and buzzing around chairs in her garden. Petals and songbirds, berries and blossoms.

For fans of autumn, those images are of fallen leaves, reflections and intensely vibrant fall color, warm and embracing, yet wrapped in a brisk blanket.

Photographs of fall color can be breathtaking, but also limiting to what is seen. Sketching, on the other hand, allows the viewer to eliminate distractions and express detail.

Bastin’s handsome book is meant to be carried, tucked into a rucksack with pencils and watercolors, to be used in the field to capture “experiences, observations and nature finds.”

A blue, cotton bookmark, threaded into the binding, returns you to where you last sketched and a handy envelope inside the back cover provides a place to insert “Nature’s Finds and Treasures.”

There’s lots of empty space in the 64-page sketchbook, meant to be drawn upon, splashed with wet color and pen-scribed. And, example after example of Bastin’s sketches and observations guide how to fill a sketchbook.

Tho, there’s not much detail within Inspired by Nature to explain nature drawing and journaling. For that, get John Muir Laws’ tome, The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling. Laws’ book, though comprehensively instructive, is not one you take into the field. Bastin’s is.

When photographing fall color, I often find myself chasing light, then waiting for it to get golden. During that waiting time, sketching is a way to record observations visually that’s not dependent upon the perfect moment. As, with sketching, the point is to interpret perfection through creative expression.

Inspired by Nature Sketchbook (paperback, 6 x 6″) is available from Andrews McMeel Publishing ($16.99) wherever books are sold.