Friday, March 1, 2013


I suppose it all started with piano lessons. After a stint in childhood, I started them up again when my son, at eight, started his - as a way of supporting and encouraging his efforts, but mostly just because I wanted to. What I found, to my surprise, was that the hours practicing scales and tunes actually enhanced my writing efforts - rather than one taking time and creative energy away from the other, I found the opposite to be true: one enhanced the other.

Or maybe it started with my sister's ceramic sculptures, and seeing how each abstract object she created had its source, its inspiration, in something from the natural world. Once I went to visit her in West Virginia, and she showed me a small piece of driftwood on her shelf. "You gave me this," she said, "and I've used it many times as a template for my sculptures." It was a revelation to me. But of course art is inspired by the natural world. It is all around us. It is us.

So this blog explores that, and goes another step beyond, into what this connection and inspiration moves us to do beyond the art. For this I'll turn to such organizations as Artists for Nature and the Cape Farewell Project, which incidently inspired Ian McEwan's novel Solar. I'll also interview artists, such as Rika Mouw, whose art is inspired by nature and dedicated to protecting it.
Inspiration is all around us.


  1. What a great idea for a blog, Marybeth. Looking forward to seeing what kind of conversations take off here. And be sure and bring back lots of new inspiration back from AWP for the rest of us!
    Karen B.

  2. SueEllen Campbell aimed me at your blog, Marybeth. You mentioned Artists for Nature and that makes me wonder if you know my neighbor, Sherrie York, who is a printmaker and has been on several Artists for Nature projects. I write and my late husband was an abstract sculptor, so I've lived at the intersection of art and words for decades. We coined the word "terraphilia" to describe the inspiration for our work.

    1. Thanks for joining the conversation, Susan. I haven't (yet) participated in Artists for Nature, so don't know your neighbor. Anyhow - I'm open to guest bloggers for this site so let me know if you or Sherrie would like to write something.