Book Review: True Nature by Barbara Bash

Day 11: Several people have noticed there dreams becoming more colorful and memorable. Have you noticed a change? Tomorrow we’ll talk about setting a ritual and intention for your journaling. What’s this sentence doing here?

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Nature journals make me swoon with joy. I know they aren’t wildly popular, and I don’t care. I collect them, I make them, I love them. They capture the essence of life and time in one book. For me, it’s what art journaling is about.

Cover of True Nature by Barbara Bash

I also admire artists who create from the heart. Creating from the heart is the bravest work, because you have to trust yourself. Listen to your intuition. Choose with your soul. That’s a big risk. Particularly in a world of commerce and retail therapy, many artists feel pressure to make creative decisions through their bank account. “How much can I cut back and still have enough quality to sell well?” It’s a real question asked by many artists. It’s a realistic question to ask.

Loose wash drawing on pg. 45 in the "Summer" section

And then there are the artists who say, “I have a question in my heart that needs answering. That’s where I’ll be for the next while. Working. Making meaning.”

From the "Autumn" section. Bash asks, "Where does pressure come from?"

Barbara Bash has done both a nature journal and a work of the heart. She kept a nature journal for a year while doing a series of solitary, contemplative retreats. Her watercolors, pen and ink drawings and meditations are gathered in her book, True Nature. It’s a book of inspiration, of small, measured steps, of awe and wonder.

Bash's calligraphy, emphasizing her heart-felt questions of meditation.

It’s hand-written, with quotes and thoughts scattered throughout. Bash “enters the drawing world of endless time and curiosity” and, with meditation, “everything becomes worthy of study and affection.”

This gentle book would make a lovely gift for a meditator, an artist, a writer, or a naturalist. Almost everyone on your gift list. It’s a holding book, a page-turning book, not for the e-reader.  Oh, and don’t forget a copy for your bedside table.

Quinn McDonald is a naturalist and the author of Raw Art Journaling, Making Meaning, Making Art. The book is available on Quinn’s website with a code for free shipping. The code will expire in 10 days, so don’t wait.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: True Nature by Barbara Bash

  1. Please send your thoughts and prayers to the people of my home city – Christchurch, New Zealand. Just when it was settling down after 15 months of devastating earthquakes that have changes the face of the city, the people have been hit by another round of sizable, shallow and close ‘quakes. Not Nature at her best but Nature showing us our place perhaps. We think the Erath is ours however we are just one of many blessed creatures who share the planet.

  2. Your observations about art from the heart are so true. There is a wonderful art group in Dalkey, Co Dublin called The Black Sheep art group, run by Valerie Coombes. To quote her “there is no such thing as “bad art” if it comes from the heart. It might be beginner art, but all good art comes from the heart”. Valerie runs a wonderful 5 day residential progtamme called “Freeing the Artist within”. You don’t touch any art materials until nearly the end of day 2, and then its finger paints. The programme gives space and inspiration to open the heart, and in so doing, open to your creativity, wherever that may lie. Wonderful.

  3. The book looks wonderful, but I got a wonderful mail delivery today. Your book arrived in my mailbox today. I am enjoying it and having my son home for 12 days from his military training. It is a wonderful day for me today. I am using my 2012 word today. I am celebrating.

    • Oh, Wanda, that is wonerful to hear that your son is home for a while. Such a blessing. And for me, it’s exciting that you bought my book. If you’d like, send me your address off line and I’ll send you a signed bookmark. It’s a permission slip (like the one in the book). It’s almost as good as having the book signed! My email: QuinnCreative [at] yahoo [dot] com.

  4. Thank you so much for your review. I had not heard of the book, but it truly strikes a chord with me. Just what I need in this hurried season.

  5. A lovely glimpse, now I’ll search it out to see the rest of the treasures. There is something about a well done, nature journal that stirs the heart. The reinforcement, over and over, that nature exists according to a plan, and that it continues, season after season, at it’s own pace. A constant of sorts, when there seem to be fewer and fewer constants as benchmarks.

    Thanks for the review.. Maybe it not too late to put a p.s. on my Christmas book list. 🙂

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