Many of us work indoors, we often exercise at home or in a gym, we eat and sleep indoors, and we frequently spend time with our loved ones unexposed to the outside elements. We spend much of our lives within the confines of man-made structures instead of exploring what the natural world has to offer. As we enter the colder months, this becomes especially true, though more as a result of necessity than preference.


“Outlook, Saskatchewan after visiting this part of the prairies on an autumn morning after the harvest. An old abandoned railway track with beautiful symmetry, no longer in use but with stories to tell as long as the seemingly endless journey into the distance.” -Ryan Woytowich, Photographer, on what inspired him to take the photo.



“I was inspired by this particular photo because it reminded me of yesteryears when my mind was full of love and wonder and adventure. The old and abandoned tracks never faded, the same as my memories from so long ago.” - Joscelynne Harrold, Local Artist

It can be a challenge to view this time of year with the same excitement and sense of inspiration that causes the near frenzied anticipation we get during the warmer months. You may know the feeling - you’re working indoors and through the window, you catch a glimpse of the vibrant bright light of the sun and all you can think about is your next trip to the beach or up the mountains. Then the days get shorter and the air gets colder. The leaves change colors and then fall to the ground, signaling the coming of winter. Every year it’s more or less the same.

Some enjoy the colder months just as much or more than they do spring and summer. Whatever your preference is, there may be a large chunk of the year that simply brings you down. If you’re as dramatic as I am, the dark days of winter make you feel as if the apocalypse is upon us. I blame it on the lack of vitamin D, but with the advancements in medicine and technology, it no longer seems like a viable excuse.

The real kicker for me is boredom. Working at the library, however, has been an immense help in retaining the sense of wonder I feel during the summer. With all the books and videos at my disposal, filled with spectacular images of wildlife and how-to guides in using raw materials to create works of art, I feel a little less fatalistic about the so-called “bad weather”. The more I’ve learned to embrace these times, the more I am able to enjoy nature year round.

I’m in good company. Many of my friends love spending time outdoors, even if it’s not always convenient. When they’re not able to make it outside, they draw from residual inspiration to keep busy with arts and crafts, using organic materials or photographs that spark their creativity. One such friend is library patron Joscelynne Harrold. She often uses library materials to sharpen her skill and technique.

elk on mountain paiting

Reflecting on the moments throughout the year that move us and studying the images that inspire us, will expand our minds and ease our hearts through more difficult times. Drawing closer to the natural and primal world around us can be as much a meditative experience as a sensory one. At the library, we have many resources available to enhance these experiences.


Among the many books we have on nature photography, Hyper Nature by Philippe Martin, The New Art of Photographing Nature by Art Wolfe, and Nature Photography: Documenting the Wild by Ralph Lee Hopkins are some of the top rated choices, offering a range of tips and tricks from experts in their field.

Capture the world around you...

  • Great Courses
    1. The Are of Travel Photography
    2. Fundamentals of Photography
    3. Fundamentals of Photography II
    4. Masters of Photography: Lear from 12 National Geographic Masters
  • Art Wolfe's Travels to the Edge


Develop your techniques with books such as Painting the Spirit of Nature by Maxine Masterfield, The Big Book of Painting Nature in Watercolor by Ferdinand Petrie, Landscape Painting Essentials: Lessons in Acrylic, Oil, Pastel, and Watercolor by Johannes Vloothius, Drawing Nature by Stanley Maltzman and The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing by John Muir Laws.

Let nature guide the brush...

  • An Introduction to Chinese Brush Painting
  • Painting a Dramatic Landscape in Watercolor
  • Bob Ross: the Joy of Painting
  • Bob Ross: the Happier Painter
  • Paint Acrylic Landscapes: Understanding Sun and Shadow
  • Big Eyes
  • John James Audubon: Drawn From Nature
  • Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides


The Scout’s Outdoor Cookbook by Christine Connors contains over three hundred of the favorite recipes of leaders from the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA. Sometimes wacky and always practical, this book will make a great companion for family camping trips. Unbored: The Essential Guide to Serious Fun, The Family Book: Amazing Things To Do Together, and The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination & Nurture Family Connections by Amanda Blake Soule, The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden, The Daring Book for Girls and The Double-Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J Buchanan offer a variety of fun and educational projects for boys and girls of all ages, whether indoors or out.

Explore the planet with your family in tow…

  • Wild China
  • Ireland’s Wild Coast
  • Cuba: The Accidental Eden
  • The Great Rift: Africa’s Greatest Story
  • Martin Clunes: Islands of Australia
  • Earth: a New Wild
  • Planet Earth (series)
  • The National Parks: America’s Best Idea
  • The Durrells in Corfu
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind


Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop by Nick Offerman. Whether you’re already a fan of this popular every-man or the name Ron Swanson (of the series Parks and Recreation) is new to you, this literary venture of actor, comedian, writer and master woodworker Nick Offerman is sure to entertain and inspire. The book combines helpful tips for woodworkers at every level, beautiful photos, a tour of the Offerman Woodshop and humorous essays as it guides you through the timeless and rewarding craft.

Heirloom Wood: a Modern Guide to Carving Spoons, Bowls, Boards and Other Homewares by Max Bainbridge This homage to the form, function and beauty of wood and the craft of woodworking is a great selection for beginners. Author and founder of Forest + Found Max Bainbridge takes readers through the entire process from identifying wood types and sourcing timber, to setting up a basic toolbox; from carving and cutting techniques, to creating handcrafted homewares. The book offers an array of maintenance techniques and many beautiful photos to inspire any novice to delve deeper into the craft.

Design By Nature: Creating Layered, Live-In Spaces Inspired by the Natural World by Erica Tanov Bring the outdoors in and surround yourself with the beauty of nature. Acclaimed designer Erica Tanov teaches readers how to use patterns and motifs inspired by nature, unique patterns and fabrics from around the world, and organic materials to create indoor spaces that breathe life and imagination into our everyday lives.

Bring the outdoors in...

  • Woodworking 101: Techniques and Everyday Projects
  • The Woodwright’s Shop (series)
  • The Woodwright’s Shop: Travels With Roy in America
  • The Woodwright’s Shop: Travels With Roy in Europe
  • The New Turning Wood With Richard Raffan
  • Treehouse Masters (series)
  • House Beautiful: Natural Environments
  • Biophilic Design: the Architecture of Life

Whitney Taitano, Circulation Desk Attendant


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