Journaling / Lifestyle

Nature Journaling & The Art Of Cyanotype

nature journal, nature journaling, cyanotype, journaling, nature, art, photography, creative,

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This past year or so has been draining, especially on my creativity. So much of what inspired me was from experiences, from travelling to visiting museums and exhibitions to the simplest of things like going for lunch with friends. When that all stopped with the pandemic, I have to be honest, I felt a little lost. I was a writer with nothing to say. So I looked for other creative outlets and that’s when I discovered nature journaling, which added a moment of calm to an anxious mind.

As many of you know, I’m an avid journaler, I find putting my thoughts to paper very therapeutic, well nature journaling is a relaxing practise that helps you connect with nature, stop for a moment, embrace your surroundings, and switch off from work, social media, and everything else.

What I love about having a journal is that you can do what works for you. There is no right or wrong way, and with my nature journal, I use it to capture moments from on my daily walk to in the garden, from birds to flowers, the rain count, how the clouds are looking to a glorious sunrise or sunset.

I scribble notes on how they look, write creative stories about them, even scientific facts I’ve looked up and I’ve even given drawing a go, sometimes it is nice to sketch of a flower or a leaf, and I’m even added photographs to record the moments. It is a journal for everything and anything, no observation is too small, as long as it is comes from nature. I also love that there is no pressure, if I don’t add to it for a few days or weeks I don’t feel guilty about it, I add to it when I a moment takes me.

Having a playful approach to nature journaling has also led to the entries inspiring other creative exercises – such a short stories, poetry, pressed flowers and even cyanotype art, a newfound passion where you create beautiful botanical prints using sunlight paper.

Bringing my nature journaling to life with cyanotype art

I was introduced to cyanotype by Instagram pal Karen Louise George, check out her Insta it is full of cool photos, and she kindly sent me one of her Cyanotype Paper Kits to try out. It is such a fun process, from foraging for props to arranging the items, waiting for the exposure, washing your print, and then waiting for it to dry.

I used the sheets I had to bring to life some entries from my nature journal, I gathered some cosmos, fern leaves, discarded wheat shoots from the harvest, sycamore leaves and some tufts of long grass from the garden. I then sat down in the sunshine and planned where I was going to place everything, as once you take the paper out of the lightproof bag you have to act quickly to avoid exposure. Which when you aren’t feeling ultra creative can be a blessing, as you have to go with your first thought and run with it.

I actually wasn’t sure what to expect, but four out of my five prints came off just as I wanted. I think my long grass idea needed more depth and texture to it, the bushy spires didn’t really shine through once exposured. But you know what, I’ve learnt something for next time.

I also think next time I will be a little more experimental, add some water flicks, bubblewrap and salt splatters to my pictures. I have a whole section in my nature journal on the sea and coastline and I think seaweed will be perfect as a cyanotype print.

Have you got a nature journal or tried cyanotype art?