You hear it every year, but spring really is the best time to get out and about and see what the new season has to offer. There are so many activities or hobbies you can take up that will get you outside, soaking in the sun, sparking your creativity and learning something new.
Painting or drawing outside is known as ‘plein air’, which in French means ‘in the open air’. Set up an easel or pack a sketchpad and head outside to get some Vitamin D while also exercising your creative brain. Creating art outside can deepen your connection to the natural world and allow you to observe what’s around you from a heightened state of awareness. Outside, many fundamentals of art come into play, such as the immense differences just a subtle shifting of light can create. Becoming immersed in how the world behaves visually also means firsthand experience of techniques such as anatomy, colour, texture and composition.
Sometimes words can swim together when you’re tapping away on a screen. Writing outside is the perfect opportunity to take your notebook and pen and get back to basics. Spending time outdoors is scientifically proven to boost creativity and inspiration, making it a great way to brainstorm ideas and create gorgeous prose. Switching up mediums can also be a cure for writer’s block, allowing you to refresh your thoughts and have them flow in a different way. Being outside is a visceral experience and this can lend writing authenticity, as you can experience sights, sounds, and sensations firsthand. Perhaps you might see something unexpected, leading to a surprising new idea!
Exercising outside has a variety of benefits. This ranges from the technical – wind resistance burns more kilojoules! – to the psychological. Outdoor exercise will bring you into contact with nature and your wider community, which is great for mental health. We know that exercise results in improved mood through release of endorphins, but adding a dose of Vitamin D to the mix is an amazing mood-boosting cocktail. Other benefits include ease of access and low cost. Opportunities for outdoor exercise are numerous: join a bushwalking, jogging, biking or trail hiking group and hit the beach, bushland and national parks. Do some yoga or group fitness in the park, or get involved in community gardening. Simplest of all, just get walking! Walk around your neighbourhood, take a tour around the city, or get off the beaten path and discover hidden gems.
The main benefit of outdoor photography is working with gorgeous natural light. You also have a variety of natural resources available, meaning imaginative possibilities are endless. There are no time or space limitations, an array of background options, atmospheres to play with, and the beauty of nature to inspire you. Even if the city or urban development is your subject, you will learn to observe from the lens of your camera, finding interesting details in otherwise commonplace scenes. For the best outdoor pictures, shoot under cover of shade and – for stunning pictures – during the golden hour, which is the first and last hour of light.
It is spring, after all, so of course flowers have to get a mention! Botany is the science of plant life and the mild weather of the season is the perfect time to get out and discover all the plants, flowers and fungi that have sprung up with the sun. You could even combine outdoor activities, and spend a few hours photographing or sketching the beautiful and fascinating flora you come across, for your own enjoyment or for research and conservation purposes. For projects closer to home, just pop out into your garden and get planting, creating your own little version of a natural paradise.
Consolidate all your outdoor leisure activities into a learning experience with CAE. Our Art, Writing, , Walking Tours, Photography, Garden and Floristry classes will provide you with tips and advice on how to bring your hobby out into the big wide world!