Backyard Symphony

Title: Backyard Symphony
Size: 10x10"
Medium: Acrylic and graphite on wood panel
Series: 100 Square Project

I like my backyard. It's not huge, but I have a couple big trees and lots of flowering plants that really make it a nice place to hang out when the weather cooperates. We get a lot of birds and butterflies over the warmer seasons... maybe living fairly close to a large lake has something to do with it. I don't know. But I do like it. Sometimes I just sit out there with my morning coffee, and watch all the activity. 

Over the last few years I've really learned to value being in nature. I always did to a certain extent, but it was never a NEED like it is now. We would go camping in the summer, maybe a hike in the woods now and then, but that was about it. Of course I've always had dogs and so the long walk after work was something that had to happen, no matter what. Now that there are no animals needing walks, I tend to just not go if the weather isn't pleasant.

That has not necessarily been the best thing for my mental health. Or my physical health, come to think of it. My day job has gotten more and more sedentary over the years, with all digital workflows removing the need to get up from my desk every hour or so to walk over to a printer. If I'm not paying attention, I can spend a few hours without moving, glued to my monitor with the tension building in my neck and shoulders. Not really ideal. 

The last little while I've been trying to be mindful of how much stress I allow in my life, and manage it properly. Easier said than done I suppose, but I'm trying. Painting helps. As does getting outside and getting some exercise. On a nice day I will go down to the lake after work and walk through the park along the waterfront. It's calm and peaceful, and feels like I am away from the city for an hour or so. On not so nice days I walk in my neighbourhood, bundled up against the cold, trying to pay attention to the life around me. I notice the little things... the new growth on the trees, the birds appearing again, the occasional new puppy out with their owner. 

The birds are my favourite part. I'm so looking forward to hanging out in my backyard with my coffee, listening to my own private symphony.