Much of nature’s beauty is in the details, and the Robert Bateman Foundation is encouraging Canadians to discover the patterns, textures and colours of their natural world through art.
The foundation’s Sketch Across Canada program asks nature-lovers of all ages to go outside with a sketchbook in hand and capture the nature and wildlife around them. No art skills are required – just enthusiasm and appreciation.
“We want to encourage people to build connections with the natural world by overseeing it and learning about it,” said Lauren Ball, spokesperson for the Bateman Foundation. “We feel … art is a fun and beneficial and lasting way to do that.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation held programs for youth across Canada, where naturalist-led classes helped participants connect with nature through art. Sketch Across Canada continues that momentum, even though the pandemic cancelled in-person programming.
To participate, people can post pictures of their nature sketch on social media with the hashtag #mynaturesketch.
Ball said drawing outside is also a great way to decompress from the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s incredibly beneficial for people’s mental health, it’s quite a mindful activity,” she said. “It’s calming, focusing on something and the act of sketching.”
The virtual call out also celebrates the 90th birthday of renowned artist and naturalist Robert Bateman. The goal is to get 33,000 Canadians (the number of days one has lived when they turn 90) to go outside and become “bright-eyed three year olds again.”
“This is really about shifting priorities, managing stress, anxiety and depression with the gifts that have always been there.”
The Bateman Foundation is a non-profit organization promoting artwork as a lens for education and awareness of nature and wildlife. The foundation operates a variety of programs and community collaborations. The Robert Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature is located in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
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