American Rose Center

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the Eyes of others only a Green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and by these I shall not regulate my proportions; and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the Eyes of the Man of Imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.

 ~~William Blake

 I am fascinated by nature and art. The exciting thing is that the more I study nature, and the more I study art, I learn more than anything that they are linked together by imagination. So many of the most enduring artists are inspired by nature. Painters, photographers, poets, architects, musicians, sculptors, novelists, dancers, etc., all work to understand, mimic, or explain nature. This past month, I was blessed to spend two days in nature, and I took lots of pictures.

Texas Discovery Garden

My first nature date was at the Texas Discovery Gardens and Butterfly House at Fair Park in Dallas, TX with a friend. What a fun discovery to find a lovely native organic garden in the middle of Dallas. There was a lovely lawn, pond, waterfalls, rose garden, herb garden, Shakespeare garden, and more. The butterfly house is home to a number of tropical plants as well as about 500 butterflies. I spent the afternoon reading about the various butterflies, and taking pictures of flowers, gardens, birds, and squirrels.

American Rose Center

The second nature date was at the American Rose Center in Shreveport, LA. My mom and I spent the afternoon wandering around acres of rose gardens. Each garden had a different theme and focus. One would think we would  get bored just looking at roses, but what impressed us both was the variety. Even flowers on the same bush were different in shading. Some roses had powerful aromas while others had no smell at all. Some roses were packed with so many petals while others only had a few. There were rose trees, climbing roses, floribunda, tea, hybrid teas, dog roses, and more. One of our most surprising finds was a burnt orange rose that smelled like cinnamon and chocolate. It was appropriately named “Cocoa.”

Since then, I have been inspired (and determined) to learn to draw and paint the amazing specimens I was fortunate enough to observe. I find myself doodling birds, butterflies, and flowers on scrap paper, calendar pages, and in my sketchbook and altered journal. The most intriguing thing is that even after studying the actual item, carefully photographing it, and then repeatedly drawing it, I seem to notice something new every time I attempt to capture it. There is so much detail in each plant and animal.  I think I am now closer to understanding what William Blake was saying in his poem “To See A World…” from Age of Innocence:


purple-leafed oxalis“To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.”


Photos by Gerry Williamson and Kathryn McClatchy ©2013 —All Rights Reserved