'Autumn Colouring' by Sarah Burgess

As anyone who knows me in real life will be aware, I love colour and for that reason alone I love autumn.  I mean obviously, there is also my obsession with conkers, (for a lot of conker chat come over to our facebook page) but now the conkers are mainly down,  the focus of my walks has turned to colour, and in particular to leaves.  October is the month of The Big Draw, an event I was unaware of until recently – it’s a visual literacy charity that promotes the universal language of drawing as a tool for learning, expression and invention.  In 2020 it has become The Big Green Draw Festival  #ClimateOfChange and  focuses on the relationship between people and our living environments and ecosystems; highlighting how we live today and the ways in which we do and do not harmonise with nature.  Of course drawing is another way to slow down, take notice and connect with nature – and it’s something you can do outside in nature or inside in the warm!

There are many free Big Green Draw events planned during the month, so check out their twitter feed for more information.  Inspired by the idea that maybe I can draw after all (spoiler alert, I really can’t), I signed up to The Big Green Drawing Challenge organised by Marigold the Maker (for some wonderful ideas on mindfulness, art and nature check out her website) and every day I get an email with ideas to try whilst drawing, plus suggestions on becoming more environmentally friendly.  I have to admit, as with a lot of things I sign up to, I’m not very consistent with actually undertaking the activity, but I chose leaves as my theme for the month and every morning on my walk I have been looking out for interesting leaves and taking one or two home.  I’ve even got my colouring pencils out and tried to draw them.  When I find a particularly good one I feel like the dogs I have seen trotting around proudly with a leaf in their mouth.  (Don’t worry, I use my hands or pockets to carry them home.)  I’ve also been taking photos of particularly fabulous trees.  Have you noticed that at the moment some are almost glowing?  I’ve just googled “autumn trees paint by numbers” as I feel like that’s what nature is doing.  Each leaf a different glorious colour – yellow, gold, orange, red, green, and each tree an almost rainbow – or at least a paint chart.  Studies have shown that the colours can have an impact on our mood and how we perceive the world and colour therapy – or chromotherapy to give it its official title, uses the benefits of different colours and shades to affect your wellbeing.  Autumn is a great time to look around at all the different colours in nature and think about how each of them make you feel.  As we head towards the darker months, are there ways you can bring both colour and nature into your life to help give you a boost during winter?  As you know by now, I am a dedicated follower of the seasons, however I have been unable to let go of my summer display of brightly coloured paper baubles, both the colours and the shapes bring me joy.  This morning as I carried home another leaf from my walk, I remembered that in my box of seasonal goodies, I have a garland of autumn leaves waiting to replace them.  I feel ready to celebrate the colours of autumn.  Come over to our facebook page and celebrate them with us.  With the current restrictions on meeting up, perhaps you could set your clients a challenge to go out and find some yellow or red or gold, and then meet up online afterwards to compare and discuss.  If you’d like to find out about other ways to work with your clients outside and think about how you can encourage them to go outdoors more, why not join us for a short training session.  The next one is happening on Wednesday 21st October from 10.00am until 11.30am with some of the South Lanarkshire countryside ranger team.  Drop me an email to find out more – sarah.burgess@vaslan.org.uk Also, please do check out our YouTube channel where we’ll be bringing you more ideas of how to continue to connect to nature.