"Failure is vital."

"What are the lessons here?" I asked myself. The most important one had nothing to do with paint.

"Failure is vital."
"What are the lessons here?"

"I hate everything about this, which is why I might share it," I wrote after feeling miserable about my progress on April 30th. I was trying to learn how to draw and paint Double Delight roses before Mother's Day so I could paint one in time to send to my mom as a gift, but my rendering was nothing close to how I wanted it to look and time was ticking.

Today, I'm sharing all those failures with you. Why? Because I want to highlight the difference between nature journaling and art. These are NOT nature journaling pages.

Days 2 and 3 of trying to wrap my head around painting Double Delights

There are many people who are just getting started with nature journaling who might only see the final, polished pages of experienced artists. You might be one of these new nature journalers, and you might feel stuck because you think nature journaling means fussing over form and technique.

If you're that person, please remember that the moment you begin to beat yourself up about the way your nature journal page looks, that's the moment you've stopped nature journaling and have instead switched on "art mode".

Day 4 found me testing different watercolor swatches and experimenting with pencil lines while evaluating dry times

Nature journaling and art are both good things, but nature journaling does best when you dial "art mode" down to zero and focus all that energy into your subject. When you put on your nature journaling cap, remember it's all about the subject. Nothing else. Not your page. Not your tools. Not your skill level. Not your post.

Day 5 I found me testing watercolor pencils to try to achieve a more delicate petal
Summer heat foiled Day 6 of my session outdoors, so I packed it in and finished the day's practice indoors

These pages highlight some of my personal, artistic struggles. I like to see how the sausage gets made...and I'd bet you do, too, so I've included each of the six sessions where I experimented with ways to draw and paint a beautiful rose and came up short every single try, plus and a later attempt, when I took off my art cap and put on my nature journaling cap.

When you can connect with the subject and get lost in its world, then you're nature journaling…and the feeling you get in that moment?

That, dear reader, is the Holy Grail.

Unlike Days 1 through 6, where I was practicing art, here I was practicing nature journaling...a different thing entirely.

Afterthoughts: Double Delight roses are special to me. My wonderful husband grows them and oftentimes brings a bloom to me to brighten our home or my desk. They smell heavenly and turn color as they are exposed to sunlight.