Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Wild plant survey

I have been struggling to find a methodology for my new ideas. I think I now know what I want to achieve but haven't got a clue what to do to achieve this. This is very unusual for me as I normally have lots of things I would like to do but no clear goal in mind. Generally I think this new perspective is good for me, if rather challenging.

So I was thinking about testing, as you would with a scientific hypothesis; you come up with a an idea and then you test it to see if you can prove or disprove it. Some of the ideas for experiments or tests I came up with were: recording noises, recording the species in a given area, making comparisons (size, time, colour), recording changing light.

As I wanted to take part in the Plantlife wild plant survey I thought this might be a good starting point to come up with some tests. Using a 1km walk they ask you to record the plants you see during that walk. So what are the different ways you could record this information? Photography, sketches, maps, lists, collecting were all possibilities, although I discarded the idea of collecting specimens as I felt this went against the conservation principle. So I made a rough map to draw onto and went out armed with cameras and drawing media.

I chose to work only with tonal values; no colour to keep thing simple.

At first I thought 1km was too short for the walk, but I soon realised just how many species I had to record. In just the first few metres I spotted about 8 different plants. Rather than taking any books or guides with me I chose instead to record every flowering wild plant I saw and to identify them properly when I returned home. By doing this I found I was really studying the plants closely, especially the ones I drew. It was a brilliant experience focusing so intently on the details of the landscape and I ended up spending about 4 hours out studying the flora and taking photos. It then took me many hours of further research to identify all the plants.

It might be quite interesting to do this process regularly throughout the year to capture the changing seasons.

I suppose what I really want to say is that anything that slows down our thinking, doing or being has the benefit of allowing us to see the world differently and giving us the chance to really see things. Drawing is an excellent process for helping me to see. It helps me study something more thoroughly, not necessarily to understand it better because sometimes what drawing reveals is that something is much more complex than we realise at first glance.

1 comment:

  1. you're absolutely right...cameras give us a quick shot but through lack of attention [most times] we miss the detail

    slow walking and drawing and simply stopping to be still are the best paths to discovery



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