Trust in Nature

I’m not posting a face today. I volunteer from time to time at the National Trust’s Saddlescombe Farm in East Sussex for a project called Trust in Nature & when I was there today I was “volunteered” to decorate a large green box which holds all the wellbeing resources. My favourite thing about the farm is the sheep so I started by painting a sheep on the box, and then a feather I found on a shelf nearby. It was the perfect way to spend a day, painting by the fire, while others collected natural materials and decorated the Christmas tree behind me.

Trust in Nature grew out of the wonderful Grow Project, an ecotherapy project also based at Saddlescombe Farm for people who have experienced mental health difficulties and feel they would benefit from time in nature. I did a Grow season in the spring of 2017 and it helped me cope so much better with both my mental health and pain problems.

Trust in Nature, or TIN, is a volunteering project open to anyone who has done the Grow Project. Project tasks can range from scrub clearing to gardening to printmaking. Since I have impaired mobility I can’t do many of the more active tasks so I don’t volunteer as regularly as some, but I try to go as often as I can, especially if there are creative tasks I can contribute to. And I can’t think of a better way to spend a day there than painting sheep! I haven’t finished the box yet; I’ll try to finish it next week. If I do I’ll post a photo here.

If you’d like to know more about the Grow Project click here. I can’t recommend it enough if you need some headspace and healing space and/or if you have funds and are looking for a project to support financially.

To learn more about the Saddlescombe Farm and estate click here.

Christiane’s Sheep #2

Today’s face: Christiane’s sheep #2, inspired by Sktchy, in response to the Sktchy WAXFurryfriends art extravaganza – although a sheep is perhaps a woolly friend rather than a furry friend? Drawn in a Daler-Rowney Ebony sketchbook with Pentel sign fineliners and Copic markers.

Christiane’s sheep

Today’s portrait for day 28 of the #sktchy30 challenge is of Christiane’s sheep. I chose to draw a sheep because at the moment I’m a participant in the Spring season of the Grow Wellbeing Project. That means that every Thursday I head off to the National Trust’s farm at Saddlescombe in the South Downs in the company of 12 other lucky participants and we spend the day with the Grow Project connecting with nature in a variety of ways that will support our wellbeing now and into the future. This week we spent the morning with Roly, the farmer at Saddlescombe, and his animals – mostly his sheep and newborn lambs. And yes, I did get to cuddle a newborn lamb. I’m lucky enough to have a couple of days at Saddlescombe with Grow before on Mind Live Project outings and so I’ve already cuddled the lambs, shepherded the sheep across the road and wormed a cow (yes, really!) and anyone who knows me knows that I love, love, love spending days with the sheep. So I thought I’d commemorate the day today with a sheep portrait.

Drawn in a Moleskine sketchbook, a Unipin pen and Copic markers.

BTW you can find out more about the Grow Project here, about the National Trust site at Saddlescombe here, and about the farm at Saddlescombe run by the tenant farmers Camilla and Roly, including the possibility to be a shepherd for a day, here.