One day as I was sketching plants in my backyard for my zine I happened upon a green vining plant on which the green leaves had white outlines. As I was drawing it I thought about how someone who knows a lot about plants would probably be able to identify this plant very quickly, as it appears very distinct. And while they might be sketching some sort of knowledge or scientific discovery of the plant’s health and well being, what I was sketching was something different entirely. It was beauty. It was the way these plants were creeping through the fence from my neighbor’s side, reaching towards me. The way nature had the ability to draw outlines in a contrasting color. The way those plants differed from any other plants on my property, and simply how I liked them.
I had the fortunate experience to be a guest on Misti Little’s gardening podcast entitled “The Garden Path.” During our discussion I mentioned drawing these plants, and how I enjoyed taking them in, pretending as if no one had ever seen them before. I enjoy learning the names of things, but I’m just as happy knowing their shape along my paper with my pen and knowing their story as they uniquely reach through the fence into my life, knowing their beauty as I perceive it and again as I render it.
With this childlike way of seeing and noticing the details around me, as a beginner, I am drawn into all sorts of worlds belonging to experts (not just biologists or gardeners), and while I am new on the scene and unable to speak their language, I can say, in my own creative expression, “I have been here where you so often dwell, and I have found something worth noticing, and I just want to say your world is beautiful.” In this way I expand my own world and find a bit of intersection with another’s. My imaginative rendering makes the plants something they have not traditionally been and returns a sense of wonder to them.