Collecting beauty

little doll with camera med We are so blessed when we have anything beautiful around us.  A lovely idea is to record that beauty forever. You don’t have to be a great artist or poet or photographer to create a little reminder of something in your surroundings that you appreciate. If you can doodle, draw stick figures, or make a recording of the birds singing, you can capture a precious moment in your life – one that contained something beautiful!

But there are hidden dangers in focusing on your recording of a beautiful event. How often have you vacationed at some scenic spot and found tourists busily taking photographs of the experience rather than actually having it? Sometimes the best thing to do is to savor the experience, soak it up, and then buy a few postcards with photos taken by professionals. Then everyone in the group can autograph it and perhaps add a short impression, such as “Great strudel!” or just draw a smiley face.

Some people carry a sketch pad and a journal.This is a method I love. Fifteen minutes under a shady tree or seated at a cafe table with a sketch pad will result in your own perceptions of a place, not those of a guidebook or another photographer. A quick drawing often distills what you are seeing and feeling – you will be putting down the things that have impacted you.

Woman writing memories

Recalling the sight we’ve seen as we write deepens our beautiful memories.

I love to leave a blank page between drawings. That way I can find a quiet spot at the end of the day and write down my impressions. It becomes more meaningful when you avoid facts that might be found in a travel guide. What did the area smell like? Was that jasmine on the air? What were the sounds? Was it quiet with an occasional bird call, or was the traffic such a din that it took away some of the enjoyment? That experience, that feeling you got from a place is yours and yours alone. These small details add layers to your happy memories.

It is easy to snap a photo with smartphones, but what do we do with them? Today’s digital lifestyle is a disposable one at the tap of the <delete> key, a system crash, a corrupted file. It’s easy to erase a treasury of future beautiful memories. Don’t forget to back them up or download and print them. And store them properly, away from heat and acid paper. Sketch pads with archival paper are inexpensive and readily available. Savor the heart-warming images you see before you; then record them in your own artistic way to enjoy again and again.

For more ideas: Click Kodak for their top ten tips for taking good photographs.

If you want to preserve your photos properly, click on The American Museum of Photography and follow their expert advice.

For a helpful article on helping children learn to draw, click on Marvin Bartel of Goshen College.

Copyright © 2015 Jill Teresa Farmer. All rights reserved.