Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Last-Minute Sunset Art-n-Nature Picnic

February passed too full and fast for me to schedule our monthly Art-n-Nature group excursion.  So, the other morning, I decided to post a last-minute invitation to our group for a belated February hike.

Since my invitation was rather spur-of-the-moment, I opted to keep the outing plan simple:

  • Meet at a local trailhead 40 minutes or so before sunset.
  • Walk the short trail to a lakeside.
  • Chat a bit to review each of the elements of art and design that we had previously studied and introduce the principles of emphasis and contrast.
  • Create land art.
  • Enjoy a sunset picnic.

Two families were able to join us to make the plan a reality, and, although chilly evening air on fingers prevented the children from getting as into creating land art as I had imagined they would, the outing was still oh-so-worthwhile!

The walk out to the lake was easy, yet adventurous enough to elicit a squeal of delight from one child.

Once at the lake, we plopped down some blankets and began our art chat.

Simple lines drawn on the ground helped us recall the art elements of line and shape, then, we collected leaves to help us recall at other elements.

Objects around us helped us recall form and texture.

The we collected and examined leave to review value and color.

Inspecting the leaves closely, we saw how line, shape, color, positive space, negative space, and more come into play in the simple art of a natural leaf.

Then, it was time to talk about emphasis and contrast before suggesting that we create land art with "secret" focal points for one another to guess.

The children went straight to foraging for "art supplies" and even finding "love rocks" while they did.

With found supplies, some children got busy creating right away...

...while others kept gathering rocks, twigs, fallen pieces of bark, pinecones, and other "art supplies".

The water's edge, of course, was a big draw and those with boots went right on, while some without boots tried to as well!

The golden hour arrived and it was just beautiful!

My heart was so happy seeing engaged children working together to forage and create against the backdrop of the setting sun.

It was just as happy as I asked questions to help old and new club members alike decide how to proceed with their land art.

Back and forth the kiddoes went, creating, getting supplies, and exploring...

As they did, they also noticed natural art around us.

All the while, they were questioning, suggesting, creating...

Then, land art completed, they took turns guessing one another's focal points.

As they observed each other's land art, they took note of how line, shape, texture, contrast, and more came into play to create emphasis.

Then, art done, it was time to move our blankets for a better view of the sunset as we we enjoyed time picnicking, chatting, and taking in a beautiful sunset. 

As the sun set, we paused our conversation a few times because we thought we heard owls.

 Between sips of warm soup and nibbles of dinner, the water continued to draw the children.

The colors were gorgeous over the water.

We all breathed in the ideal end to the day as the sun sank below the horizon.

Then, it was time to pack up and head back to our vehicles with the children happily leading the way.


What a simple outing it was, made splendid by the opportunity to spend time time outdoors with friends as glorious color painted the sky. 

Yep, I am hugely blessed by these three children and even more so by being able to share time with them together with friends.

Our early evening with nature, art, and friends proved delight.  I think I might have to organize a similar experience for our March excursion.

Check Out Pics, Reports and Plans from Some of Our Other Art-n-Nature Experiences 


As winter rolls into spring, I am excited to continue our Art-n-Nature initiative and, since you never know what the weather will be in New England during a shoulder season, would welcome YOUR suggestions for both cool- and warm-weather art projects that can be enjoyed outdoorsPlease leave links and ideas in a comment or at the Training Happy Hearts Facebook page.  Thank you!


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