Exploring: Docent walk with Brian Morgan

 As part of my year-long residency on the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, I'm joining docents on their walks through the land. Each walk is led by a different docent, putting their own spin on the topic and sharing their unique experiences in nature.

One of the first walks I joined was with naturalist Brian Morgan. His talk took us through the Monterey Pine forest in the spring – when the wet ground was sprouting mushrooms and the surrounding hills green with new life.


Brian brought an almost child-like enthusiasm to this event, expressing his wonder and delight at what he found around every bend in the trail. He talked about forest bathing, the connectivity of the trees, and how the entire forest is a living being. 

His tips on how to "be" in nature provided me with a key to unlock the process for the exploration and observation stage of the residency.

Observing nature is not as straight-forward as you might think. It requires attention, patience, being present. I'm learning how to better use my senses to notice details and patterns. And to be curious about what I see.

When I'm walking the preserve, I'm noticing what I notice. I take notes, photos and, sometimes, sketch on site. I'm looking for connections, and bringing it back to the studio as inspiration for my work. 

It's frankly overwhelming. 

At this stage of my residency, I've accumulated so much inspiration. Too much. I have ideas and future projects stacked up in my busy brain, tumbling over one another to get to the front of the line. As soon as I get it sorted out (usually at 5 a.m.), it seems to shuffle around and another idea takes hold. 

Now I must narrow down to a few ideas that can withstand the reality of clay and glaze, which can be as unforgiving as they are miraculous at times.

This is when things get tough – and I'm grateful for all of you who are following along, keeping me company on this journey. I appreciate you!


Artist Residency on the Wild Preserve

Thank you for following along on my residency, a year-long project to explore the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve and nearby coastal areas of the central California landscape where I live and work.

See "How It Began" for more information.