Trees give us so much — shade, a buffer against wind and rain and cold, paper, building materials, and even food products. Of course, they also provide the backbone of many natural habitats, providing shelter, food, homes, and resting places for just about every type of living thing.

 
What is a tree to YOU? How often do you stop to notice the wide variety of textures, colors, shapes, and character of the trees around you? Stopping to stroke a leaf, admire a flower or cluster of acorns — even just noticing the different shades of green as you drive by a forest — all these activities can increase your awareness and appreciation for trees. Take the time to notice these stately creations, and you may find your muse for the day.
 

bud ash leaves forest trees appreciation beauty nature

Like this pic? Check out the book Seeing Trees!

 

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Nature   —   Photography Prompt
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Take a hike in a nearby park or forest, and photograph at least 3 different types of tree. Which textures and colors seem to draw your eye best — rough, furrowed bark? smooth green leaves? sharp, intimidating spikes? If it is winter, make sure to get in close to those buds and leaf scars — how is each species different, even in their dormancy?
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Look back into your photo collection, and pull out pictures that feature family members and others, outside amongst the trees. Can you find any pictures of children climbing trees, or swinging on ropes tied to trees? Notice that even when the trees are not central to the activity, they often form an irreplaceable backdrop — shading a picnic scene, lining a pond or lake, or serving as a landmark.
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Nature   —   Mixed Media Prompt
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Using pictures you have taken yourself, and/or those from magazines, create one or more collages as an ode to trees. Try looking for words that describe trees, in magazines and catalogs. That is how I came up with “Celebrating Living Outdoor Masters” in the first collage below.
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collage trees mixed media closeup

Mixed media collage celebrating trees using words and pictures from magazines, real apple seeds and mini acorn “hats”, sequins, specialty yarn, and super-thick brown chenille stems.

 

trees collage mixed media art photos nature outdoors

Mixed media collage of my own family’s interaction with trees. I dappled the plain white background paper (I use 140lb watercolor paper) with green and brown paints before adhering the printed photos and other elements. Notice I included a very artistic drawing (far left) by my son — children’s art is another great source of visual elements!

 

mixed media collage art words trees magazine photos sequins bark nature natural found items

Funky trees! Just a way to use some of the other, more imaginative magazine pictures I had found — along with some bark peelings I had collected.

 

art in process mixed media collage nature natural items seeds yarn acorns trees outdoors nature appreciation

Texture pic of some of the 3D elements used in the collages. :O>

 


 

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