*Note: Nature has for centuries been a source of sustenance and healing, providing a paragon of art to artists and a source of inspiration to poets. In today’s guest post, the wonderful artist and write, Mckella Sawyer, shares how her connection with nature inspired some of her creative pursuits, as well as some of her incredible artwork.
Creating With the Trees: My Internal Landscape (Guest Post by Mckella Sawyer)
When I was a kid, I was in love with two things: being creative and being outside. Two tall cottonwood tree stood in my backyard and I spend many summer afternoons high in the canopy with a book or just starting into the branches to think, my bare feet dangling down on either side of a thick branch.
All year I looked forward to our summer camping trips when I could wander into the woods and listen to the soft hush of the breeze in the leaves of the quaking aspen. I’d wander for hours or sit on a rock and just listen, sometimes with a notebook for inspiration and sometimes without.
Nature is where I work things out in my head, where I imagine. If I want to feel close to God and hear the whisperings of my own spirit, I head outside. This wide-open Utah landscape with its stark lonely trees and distant mountains is the stage for my imagination, and it shows in my art. I used to watch those open spaces pass by outside my car window as we drove to visit family in southern Utah, and I’d spend those long hours in the car mulling over my problems and making up stories. I used to imagine myself out in those landscapes, running or dancing in the colors of the sunset.
Those landscapes dominate my art. My childhood fantasies materialize on the canvas and my lifelong love of trees is obvious. I haven’t painted one thing in the past three years that didn’t feature at least one tree. The figures in my paintings blend with the trees, as much a part of the landscape as the trees themselves. They’ve become my own internal landscape where my imagination runs wild, a visual metaphor for my mental and emotional processes as I navigate this life. Whether I’m struggling with body love, relationship, the puzzle of my soul purpose, or an anxious episode, the trees are always there.
Whenever I crave stillness so I can hear the rhythm of my own soul, I go outside. When I’m ready to share that joy with others, I go to my studio and paint what I feel when I’m out with the trees.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
McKella Sawyer is a Utah artist, writer, wife, and soul explorer who dreams of helping women create beautiful lives in which they can thrive! Her art is available in her Etsy shop and she blogs regularly at McKellaSawyer.com about creativity, art, and soul-exploration. When she isn’t creating or doing soul work, she loves going for walks, doing yoga, being outside, reading, and eating unladylike amounts of dark chocolate.