Hi everyone, hope the beginning of your summer is bringing you blue skies, adventure, and at the least, tolerable temperatures. I just finished a week I have looked forward to for months, the Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conference. While I missed a lot of the live lessons (thanks a lot day job) I have access until April and plan on going through all of them at my leisure. The first two days were a teachers conference which I made sure to take the days off for and I wasn't disappointed. One of the big things I was reminded of during the teachers conference was to ask questions. As a scientist and scientific illustrator when I draw I try to take notes and small details for later scrutiny but I had lost the fun part of both disciplines, asking questions. The act of asking questions can lead you to more and more questions and down a rabbit hole of discovery, as Bethan Burton would say. You don't need to actually answer all of those questions, and sometimes you actually can't. That is, well science. We ask questions all the time and make assumptions that we then have to prove, or falsify. Like many I tend to go for the drawing, that is where I am most comfortable but the act of taking notes and asking questions hones your observation skills and opens your curiosity, thus your creativity. We were given an assignment during lunch on the second day. Pick something that intrigues you to draw then ask as may questions as you can about it. I walked out my back door and was lucky enough to have some Monarch caterpillars on my Milkweed. I sat and sketched then let my mind wander. I wrote down at least 10-15 questions. Questions that I do not believe I can answer but I asked them anyway and I have to say it was fun and liberating. Knowing that I don't need to know the answer but I could open the door to my curiosity to do further research if I wanted was a lot of fun for me. As a scientist I research when I am curious but even then, there may not always be an answer. Perhaps then I could hypothesize and come up with an experiment to prove or disprove it.
Or maybe I will just be happy with asking the questions. So grab you journals and your pencil and go out and ask some questions today!