Many people ask me how on earth I came up with the name 'Boggy Doodles'! The quick answer is that our family cat is called Boggy Doodle. He was named by my little boy after my two great loves: art and peat bogs (which I studied during my geography degree at Oxford University and later during my PhD on nature conversation and climate change). I was searching for a name that would encourage people to come along and sketch in the wild, without feeling intimidated, and realized the name was purring right under my nose.
But it’s not only the name that combines my two interests. Boggy Doodles has given me a wonderfully rewarding way of linking my background in geography and environmental science with my love of sketching and new career as an artist.
It is my way of helping people reconnect with nature, the first step towards greater environmental stewardship. You have to love nature to want to take care of it, and it’s easier to appreciate nature when you start to see it properly; to really savour its beauty. Sketching helps you see -- not just look at -- nature; you notice so many details that you’d otherwise miss.
Yet so many people have limiting beliefs, stemming from childhood, about their inability to draw. Boggy Doodling gives people permission to have a go at sketching, without worrying about anyone judging their efforts. It’s so rewarding when someone is adamant and self-conscious about the fact they ‘can’t draw’ but then, after an hour of Boggy Doodling exercises, finds themselves losing track of time, completely absorbed in the act of sketching a humble hawthorn leaf.
It’s this focused observation that makes green sketching so relaxing. It can even be a form of meditation for those of us too pragmatic to sit in front of a candle. By giving our full attention to sketching what we are looking at in a particular moment, we are able to focus, mindfully, on one task and quieten the mental chatter in our minds – something so many of us crave in this age of information, digital and cognitive overload. Nobody worries while they’re Boggy Doodling!
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