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Minnesota Musing: Getting Inspired to Art from Your Environment

Updated on January 13, 2018
Acorns on an Oak Tree
Acorns on an Oak Tree

Art As We Know It

This all started this morning when I was looking through a Esquire magazine for men, of men. I was reading it from back cover to front, in hopes of becoming enlightened to what established editors were offering their readers. It was one of the magazines that someone had discarded into the magazine exchange at my local library.

My daughter has an art gallery in her house and is inspired by things from her own environment and from ideas in her own mind. Her art has ranged from flowers with petals to a collection or collage of related items. She uploads her paintings to a website that markets her work. She calls herself Miss Drew.


Some things are not as they seem. You can see the object at a normal distance, but then, when it is enlarged, there are certain details that emerge that are completely different from your immediate perception and the new enlarged details can be somewhat shocking.

Like a few months ago, when our weather was warmer, there was a large bug sitting on my steps. My mind said photo moment, and I squatted down to take a picture of it. As I sat my phone down next to it, I could see that it had round eyeballs on the end of feelers on the top of its face. They turned to watch me. It was spooky. I sat the camera down very close to the bug and started taking photos. It let me take some photos.

Then, I enlarged it to look at it.

The Bug Enlarged

When I looked at the bug, it looked like a pretty black Junebug with goldish spots. In the past, I would have just ignored it, but now that I was taking photos of things and sharing them with other people, I thought it was a good idea to snap the shot.

When it was enlarged, however, it was shocking to find out that the different colors on the bug wasn't part of the bug, at all, but was a couple hundred little baby bugs hanging on for dear life. This bug, was a mom. Or maybe a dad that was babysitting. At any rate, everyone was out for a ride on the bug.

Talk about a perception change.


I don't know about you, but the thought of all those tiny bugs gives me the chills. Someone asked me if I stepped on the bug and put an end to it, and I informed them that I did not.

First of all, I didn't want that bug and those small babies squished on my shoe and dragged into my house. You know what I mean? Can you even begin to imagine what that would cause? The worst thing is, I would never know. Those small creatures would disappear from my view, and I'd never see them.

I could barely see them at normal vision the way it was.

Well, as I took a few photos and then went into the house, leaving the bug to collect itself, it wasn't on the step when I returned. I do not know where it went, and I don't know what ever happened to it. Furthermore, I don't know how many bugs there are in my yard that were also carrying small baggage. Isn't that an eerie thought?

Black Walnuts and Worms

In the past, I have noticed my yard, the grass, was black with houseflies crawling around. I mean, like millions. As I have picked up black walnuts off the ground now and again, and since I have my sawmill, I had taken one and scraped the black goop off the outside of the nut. I scraped it into a plastic box and took a photo. Then, I scraped off a little more. As I took my second photo, and prepared to take a third, I was shocked to see little maggots emerging from the black walnut husk.

Now, I was interested in the fact that I had never seen maggots in them before, and one of the relatives brought me a pickup load of black walnuts and together we dumped them into cardboard boxes that I had and they took their pails home. But, the pickup truck was full of millions of maggots crawling around. Yes. They were coming out of the black walnut husks.

I find that interesting. Who would have ever thought about it, if they hadn't witnessed it first hand?

branch, pine cones, corn cobs, acorns, milkweed pods
branch, pine cones, corn cobs, acorns, milkweed pods


I take my grandchildren on a search around the yard in the summer. We look to nature for revelation. I tell them, if you ever need to invent something, look to nature. Nature will provide inspiration.

Take cockle-burrs for example. They stick to your clothes and were the inspiration for the product that we call velcro.

cockle burrs
cockle burrs


Mimicking something biological.

A fence. A grape vine. Some grass.
A fence. A grape vine. Some grass.
A mixed shot. Some sort of berry. Tree. Leaves.
A mixed shot. Some sort of berry. Tree. Leaves.
The Blinding Sun Through the Trees
The Blinding Sun Through the Trees
A Baby Bird Begging for Food
A Baby Bird Begging for Food

Are You Inspired by your Environment?

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    • firstcookbooklady profile imageAUTHOR

      Char Milbrett 

      14 months ago from Minnesota

      I agree with you, Larry Rankin. Thanks for your comment.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      14 months ago from Oklahoma

      Perhaps there is no greater muse for art throughout the years than nature.

      Wonderful insights.


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