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Connecting through art

On Tuesday I spent the day in Bothwell Road Park in the company of a wonderful group of people. It was the launch of Get Outdoors Whitehill and an opportunity for us to share some of the different ways that people can connect to nature during the summer holidays. If you don't know the park, there really is something for everyone, trees and wildflowers (note that Butterfly Conservation are holding a meadow discovery day there on 7th August, an opportunity to learn more about who lives amongst the wildflowers), swings and other play equipment, lots of space for football, and a sensory garden, an opportunity to take some time out and tune into nature. On Tuesday we were grateful to have Martin Stepek with us leading some mindfulness sessions in the sensory garden (keep your eye on his facebook page for sessions he's running all across Lanarkshire this summer), the team from Getting Better Together Shotts showed us how to get active on the gym equipment and the Countryside Rangers ran play sessions amongst the trees, with marshmallows and tea on the fire and opportunities to get creative using things from nature. Being creative with things from nature is what I wanted to talk more about today. We were joined at the bandstand by Jill Sievewright, an artist who has been running a project called Drawing on Greenspaces, in the Earnock and Neilsland Woodlands. She encouraged us to make a mark, using a range of natural materials, as you can see in the above picture. It was great fun, and messy at times - you can flick paint a long way with a feather! I don't think anything that we produced on Tuesday will make it into an exhibition, but the work that Jill has done through Drawing on Greenspaces is now being exhibited at Low Parks Museum in Hamilton until 22nd July and I'd really encourage you to take a look.

You can get a feel for the exhibition from these photos, the delicacy of some of the drawings, but also being able to see photos of how they explored the greenspace throughout the seasons, and how that informed the art, from the objects that were found, or that were used in the making of the art. For instance, I think my favourite picture was the painting of shaggy ink cap mushrooms - drawn with the ink from the mushrooms.

There was also a reminder that you can discover things more human amongst nature. The woodlands were originally the grounds of two grand houses, and relics of the past remain and can still be found. Exploring our heritage is another wonderful way to get outdoors and absorbed in nature.

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