With summer scenting the breeze and bringing with it warmer weather and more sunshine, creatives are being called to the ultimate source of inspiration - nature. Spring has sprung and summer is on the horizon. With the warmth and colours that come with the change of the seasons, it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore the outdoors and stay nestled in our cozy creative nests we’ve built through the winter. It also helps for those of us who prefer the controllable environment of indoors to get out and soak up the vitamin D and revel in the fresh air.
I myself have been spending more time outdoors sitting on the porch with my laptop, novels, and reference materials. Taking in the fresh air, feeling the wind on my face and the sun on my skin is a wonderful, refreshing feeling.
Advantages to Creating in Nature
Peace and Serenity - Nature invokes a sense of calm, except of course when it is tumultuous, but when nature strikes, we head back indoors and hunker down. That said, when nature is peaceful, we are peaceful, and when we embody that serenity as we create we access a new level of delight in our surroundings that becomes imbued in our creative work.
Fresh air and Sunlight - As generally sedentary creatures, creatives gain happiness, rejuvenation, and health benefits from spending time out in the sunshine and fresh air. It connects us back to our earth and gives us much needed access to fresh air and natural light, something visual creatives in particular appreciate an abundance of. This reinvigorates the body, the vessel through which we create. We need to take care of it.
Colourful Inspiration - The natural world inspired artists and creatives alike for centuries. It is the greatest magic we have access to, and the deepest well of inspiration we can draw from. From flora to fauna, the great blue sky, and the rich vibrancy of summer scents, the great outdoors is the perfect place to gather little bits of magic and awe.
Change of Scenery - We have been hibernating, slowly awakening, and trapped in our cozy creative nests. A change of scenery can kickstart a reboot to our creative flow. Changing the environment in which we create can do wonders for creative block and burnout, especially when the scenery is the beauty of our natural world.
Creating Creative Corners
Find a comfy chair - This is imperative and completely necessary. If you are creating in any way that requires sitting, do yourself a favour and find a comfy seat. That may take the form of a camp chair, a park bench, wicker furniture, a hanging egg chair, or leaning against the trunk of a sturdy, shady tree. Make sure you are comfortable when seated outdoors - damp grass, grimy sand, or uneven soil can wreak havoc on your lumbar spine and make the creative experience less than satisfactory.
Sunshine and shade - We all adore natural light as creatives. But like our delicate work, we too require the benefits of sunlight. However, as indoor creatures we need to be cautious of partaking in too much sun. Shade, the counter balance, is essential to securing longevity for our outdoor escapades. Take care of your skin out in the sun, and always have sunglasses or a hat ready at hand should you need one.
Paperweights and WiFi Connections - We are at the mercy of the elements when we step out of doors. If we are doing anything with paper or pages or light materials, make sure you have boxes, lids, paperweights and clips to keep your creative materials and work areas safe from passing winds and the gentle breeze. On the flip side, if you predominantly work on a laptop or other electronic device, choosing a strategic position close to WiFi is essential, obvious too. Most cafes have outdoor tables near enough to pick up the WiFi, or choosing a spot near a window in your home is my go to option of choice.
Level ground and picnic tables - We always carry more than we will use, and creativity often requires a work surface of some kind. Choosing a spot with level ground makes sure paint doesn’t run, ink doesn’t roll, and materials don’t shift about as you work. Tables too are necessary for many creative practices. You know best the surface you need to create on, whether smooth glass is appropriate, or a rough hewn wooden table would suffice.
Creative Creature Comforts
Snacks and Water - Heat can take a toll on the body, and when the fridge isn’t just a few steps away we can forget we require sustenance during extended creative sessions outside, especially if we relocate away from home. Make sure you have a bottle of water on hand and a few snack bars in your travel bag. The last thing you want is to be inspired and creating in nature and have to pack everything up because you have a snack attack.
Blankets and Cushions - The breeze may feel great for a moment or two, but when you sit out for extended periods while creating or choose to find a safer spot in the shade, sometimes you can catch a tiny chill. Make sure to have a shawl or blanket with you to keep you comfortable whatever the change in the weather. On the note of comfort, have additional cushions with you as well for changing positions, hard picnic benches, or bumpy tree trunks.
Space to move - Nature can beckon at any time to be explored. Stuffing yourself into a crowded park or small corner of the yard with no room to expand your body limits your experience of the vastness of the nature around you. Make sure you have space to back your chair up, stand and stretch, move around, walk away and into nature. You may also choose to relocate yourself and your creative work at any time as the mood strikes you, as the wind calls to you. Keep yourself portable.
Sun Shades and Gazebos - Shade can be hard to come by. Trees may be young, spaces may be open. Having a sunshade, umbrella, parasol, or fixed gazebo structure to retreat under can be massively helpful when dealing with the harsh heat of the sun. They can also, in the case of a screened in area, keep your work safe from the insects and animals that may wander across your path and into your paint wells or chase a cursor around your screen.