Do you ever go to a breathtaking beach, or maybe even to an enchanting woodland, and after a while of taking in the view (and maybe even going for a little walk) you can’t help but find yourself thinking, “Well.. this is all very nice.. but what am I going to do now?”. I mean, you could simply sit and sunbathe, or even read a book, but somehow you wish you could get closer to nature and connect and interact more with the stunning scenery and, at the same time, engage your creativity a little and leave your mark (however temporarily) on the landscape - and who knows, maybe even bring an astonished smile to the face of the next person to make their way down the forest path or stroll the seashore.
Well then, perhaps you might take a little inspiration from this lovely lady called Lucy. Lucy lives half the year in a nature reserve in the Czech Republic (where she is a nature guide and biologist), and the other half in Aljezur playing amongst the raw and, we both agreed, ‘truly epic’ beauty of the cliffs and beaches of the wild west coast of the Algarve.
I first started following her on Instagram a few years ago and ever since then I have been consistently amazed by her various posts and stories showing what she’s able to dream up using just her imagination and the various bits and bobs she finds on her daily walks with her two adorable old and shaggy dogs (sights of which are another good reason to follow her).
Among other things, and depending on where she is, she either leaves ‘leaves’ in her tracks (swirled together into intricate circles), or, when she’s out here roaming our wild westerly coast - it’s not unusual for a careful observer to spot rocks and shells that have been carefully curled around each other to create spectacular spinning spirals.
But my favourite pieces of Lucy’s art work were always the multi-coloured animals that she makes out of little bits of plastic she finds on the shoreline (removing them after she has taken the picture).
But I hadn’t seen her make any for a while now, and when I asked her why, I heard some really quite unexpected good news. Apparently the various clean up operations (and locals and visitors to the beach generally picking up what they find) have meant that, 10 years after she first started making things on the beach (and plastic was everywhere) Lucy now struggles to find enough pieces to put these creatures together - and this is somebody who looks VERY carefully at everything.
That’s the interesting thing about hobbies and artworks in general, it makes you start to see the world in a whole new way. Lucy is now super aware of the tides so that she knows when her favourite beaches and stones will be uncovered, as well as knowing, in a way few other people do, which rocks (and even massive boulders) have been ‘reshuffled’ by the furious and mighty ocean that is constantly moving it’s stones around and spitting out new ones for her to play with.
On her walks she looks carefully at nature’s bounty and decides how to best mix and match them up into that day’s shape. It’s a bit like a natural puzzle, as bits and pieces sometimes combine in a way that makes you think they were always meant to be together.
Her creations are only temporary though (although immortalized forever by the magic of photography) as either the wind blows or the ocean relentlessly rushes in and sweeps away her artwork - resetting the canvas for the next day. But there’s something romantic about that, I think. Creating order out of the chaotic world for a brief period of time and then having the natural forces of the universe drag them back into entropy once again.
2020 meant that Lucy’s tours that she ran in the nature reserve in the Czech Republic weren’t able to go ahead, however, it’s given her time to concentrate and take what was a hobby more seriously. She’s come to think of herself more as an artist, and when things get a little more normal she hopes to run tours and teach people to see the world like she does and hopefully inspire more people to engage their creativity and become what I’d like to call an ‘exterior decorator’ - decorating the world with what they find.
So, if you want inspiration and ideas of how to start sculpting the world for yourself, or simply something to pop up on your feed to make you smile, follow her on Instagram at my.creative.nature or BeachArt on Facebook.