Natural Impulse

Personal Projects, Projects, Sketchbook, Visits, Visual Research, Walks

Getting Over Creative Block at Kew 

Throughout the majority of my summer break, I found myself dealing with creative block, so I decided to encourage my creativity by going back to what I love most. Plants and the natural world. Immediately Kew Gardens came to mind as the  place to visit as it is an amazing botanical environment that you can immerse yourself within.

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Giant Lily Pads in the Waterlily House at Kew Gardens

Pre-visit Goals

In order to make the most of my visit to Kew, I felt it important for me to establish what my goals of the trip were and what I hoped to achieve by the end of it – which was in fact just trying to encourage myself to draw for enjoyment as well as finding my muse.

I made sure to bring my drawing tools with me to document anything of interest as well as bringing a camera to take reference photographs for later use, if needed. However I knew I wanted to make particular effort not to rely on my camera but to try and draw and record in the moment.

Events of the Day

As it was a Saturday, I knew travelling by tube wouldn’t be too difficult so I arrived as Kew Gardens nice and early for when they open at 10 am. I was immensely excited as the prospect of being incredibly productive and wasted no time following my map to all the attractions I wanted to see. I managed to make it the whole way around, drawing, and photographing textures, patterns, architecture, plant and flower species.

As well as making it to the Kew Gardens gift shop, which was very relevant to the botanical garden; not only selling postcards, books, toys and Kew Gardens tote bags and pencils but actually selling books about different botanical histories, information, stories and plants themselves! Just when I thought I couldn’t get any more excited in the gift shop, I stumbled across Kew products whereby they created their own soaps, chocolates and beers infused with natural elements harvested from the gardens themselves.

Highlights

Asides from amazing species of plants, flowers, trees and birds there were to see at Kew, the part of the visit that stood out to me was the relationship between nature and architecture and how well they compliment each other. In the glasshouses I enjoyed being able to look through plants and see glass panels and metal structures between the gaps. Additionally with the amount of light pouring through some of the giant leaves, their veins were exposed which was a strangely similar build to the metal construction of the glasshouse. It brought to my attention that there is a lot more rigidity and structure in nature than my mind often gives it credit for, along with its wilderness.

This also reminded me of previous projects (such as Urban Botany and Small Nature) whereby I looked at the relationship between man and nature which is perhaps why I was drawn to this particular aspect of my visit.

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Looking up above in the Palm House at Kew Gardens, where nature mimics the man made glass structure

Outcomes

Throughout my visit to Kew Gardens and taking these photographs, I did give myself time in between locations t stop and draw. Drawing for my own purposes, and in a personal sketchbook nonetheless, is usually very daunting. I find it extremely hard to know what to do and to keep the momentum going. However, my task at Kew Gardens was simple, to be productive and feel inspired. Which is very much what happened and sketchbook pages were filled.

The best way for me to feel able to draw was to keep it simple and draw fast. In doing this, I felt my drawings were really successful as they seemed carefree yet considered and very detailed as well as maintaining some minimalism. Although nature is very much a comfort zone of mine, pushing my drawing beyond what I know was challenging for me but it made me feel as though an illustration style could emerge with practice and perseverance.

 

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Sketches of palm varieties in the Palm House

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Cacti sketches

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Sketches from the marine exhibition at the Palm House

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Fish varieties from the marine exhibition at the Palm House

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Capturing the glasshouse environment

 

Note: All photographs in this post are my own.

 

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