How Are You Growing?!

How Are You Growing?!

Hello Friends,



"This is a tree."

As with most of my thoughts, this one came to me while walking Harley.
It was snowing outside, and everything was (and still is) very white. I was thinking about how many crazy plants I have growing at home and how much colour they bring into my life, and how I might even be able to trick myself into thinking I live in a more tropical place...

And that got me thinking about how I've collected quite a bit of seeds from a Mother of Millions plant that botanists hate and that I just love because it's the easiest plant to grow. I marvel every day at how two puny stems have propagated many dozen if not hundred plants.

And I got to thinking about the seeds... How I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that these small green flakes sprout into plants, and that every plant is contained in the seed from which it unravels.

And being on a walk with Harley, amidst the trees along the river, I stared at an old oak and marvelled at how that massive being had been borne from an acorn.

I'm told that walks can help anchor you and lead you to mindfulness, or the quieting of the mind.
Quite clearly, these walks of mine, in the dead of winter, create fireworks in my head as word associations form. These inevitably lead me to the main focus of my days: Art and My Artist Life


What is it that an acorn needs to join the ranks of these forest trees?

Soil, water, sunshine. Essentially these contribute to an acorn's transformation over time.
Everything the tree really needs is contained in that acorn. Its environment and climate does the rest of the work.

I got to thinking about Artists, their Art and their Careers... and how they can take inspiration from the Acorn's journey.

🌱 THE ACORN. What if this were your art, your music, your created works?

🌳 THE TREE. What if this were your career? The ability for your art to be more visible, to expand high and wide to new audiences, new horizons?

🌅 THE SOIL. What if this were you? Your personal world, your home environment, your health, your happiness. (For me, a successful career can only be deemed as such if it is rooted in a happy life)

🌞 THE SUN. What if these were your fans and allies, beckoning you to reach them, reach greater heights?

🌧 THE RAIN. What if these essential rainy days were the support, criticism and advice of a team committed to your growth?

🌬 THE WIND. We've already discussed how wind strengthen's a tree's roots and keeps it firmly planted. What if the wind were the challenges and tough questions we meet on the way?

🍂 THE SEASONS. What if our careers, too were allowed to have seasons with moments to let the sap rise, moments to blossom, moments to drop old ideas... to come back stronger?!

🐮 THE FERTILIZER. I dug up a couple of articles about growing oak trees from acorns. I was struck to read that fertilizer was discouraged for the most part. Indeed, fast growth at early stages produced weak wood... What if fertilizer were those get-famous-quick platforms that sometimes offer overnight fame, without a sustainable career plan in place?

🐛 THE PESTS & THE PLAGUES. What if these external threats were like those "bad luck" moments that can happen in our careers? You can prevent some infestations, but once a wildfire's set, you can't always save the tree... And in our careers, it's the same. We can arm ourselves against some of the "pests" (a good lawyer can protect us from an unscrupulous deal). We also have to face the occasional unexpected "plague" (or pandemic that pulls the rug from under our tour plans...)

We can have a lot of fun with the acorn-as-art metaphor... but the point here is this:

So many artists beat themselves up and start believing that there's something wrong with their art when their careers don't progress as they had hoped. The blame themselves and start losing confidence in their talent. Some mimic other styles. They clip this, change that, try to be something else... And I can't help wonder if they've missed the point all together. Can you imagine an Acorn trying to turn itself into an Apple seed, or the seed of a Sequoia? Clearly, that wouldn't make sense.

So often, a great talent was left unshared simply because the soil, water and sun weren't optimal!

I really do believe that art can lead to a career. For some, their art might be an acorn. For another, their art will reach the height of a Redwood because that's what it's meant to be. There'll be elms and weeping willows and plants of all types. Who they are is set. How they grow depends on their environment and climate.

So your art, the acorn or seed that it is, needs you, a team. an audience and all of those elements to flourish into a career, season by season, in a steady and sustainable way!



Well, if you're still reading this, you'll be up to this exercise. ;-)

Let's talk about you! But first, let's draw it out!
You'll need a sheet of blank paper (the larger the better),a pencil, colour pencils if you have them... if you can be seated near a window that offers a view of nature, great. And if you can precede this exercise with a walk in the woods, even better!

Sketch out your artist career as a tree. Let it take any shape that it wants.
Pencil in the sun to the right of the tree, rain drops to the left, and mark out a line for soil.

As you start filling in details and colour, think about what your environment is offering right now.

  • Who are your fans? Are you meeting them now? How much room is there for your branches to grow to meet up with new fans? Who are the ones that bring you warmth? Who are the ones that bring you energy?


  • What about the rain? Who is nourishing you with support and advice? Who do consider part of your team? Who are your allies and close collaborators? If you feel like it, you can write their names into your picture, or symbolize them as you wish.


  • What about the soil? How's it doing? How are you doing? What can you do that would nourish you in a healthy way? So that your career can take root and that your art can flow from you?

Continue with any of the elements covered above. As you draw and name the factors and the people that feed your environment, you'll see that a story will appear in front of you.
You'll notice what is abundant, and likewise, what is missing... With a full picture in front of you, ask yourself if this is the picture that you want to see and if not, what changes you need to explore so that your career can take shape as you wish.

If you're on a roll, you can draw a picture of the fully-grown tree. or pencil it in to expand the current image you're working on. How you express it is up to you - and most importantly, it is FOR you!

- - -

Everything a tree becomes is held within an acorn. Land, water and sun determine how well it will grow. And so it is with our art. 

xo Nat

PS. Treat yourself to some extraordinary plant imagery and the music of Madeleine Roger with her video, Cottonwood: It's sure to take away the winter chill and leave you wanting to go for a walk in nature to take a closer look at the plants around us.

PPS. And here are some photos from this week's walks...

And some of the whiteness I've been facing...

Nathalie Kleinschmit

Article by Nathalie Kleinschmit

Published 26 Jan 2021