Inspired: Tropical Flora from my East African Travels

 

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I recently returned from a wonderfully rejuvenating trip home to East Africa. Here’s the story of my trip, told through the tropical flora!

First stop was my hometown of Nairobi. I felt so lucky to wake up each morning to this – such a diverse, colourful collection of foliage. If you’ve been following my #plantsomethingdaily challenge, you know how much inspiration I derive from nature!

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Plant Something Daily – June Favourites

 

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Another month of my #plantsomethingdaily challenge has gone by and today, I will cross the halfway mark!

It’s been a great exercise in discipline, stretching my creativity and not getting hung up on trying to achieve perfection. It’s also been quite satisfying – just doodling without much restriction.

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Plant Something Daily – May Favourites

My #plantsomethingdaily art challenge continues. At this point, as much as there are days where I feel like I just don’t want to do it (usually because I’ve left it very late and all I want to do is sleep), I’m way too committed to listen to the deviant voices in my head. And of course, all of you who’ve been following the journey on Facebook and Instagram keep me accountable so, thank you!

Here are some of my favourites from May.

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The pair above are actually part of a series of 3. I drew and then experimented on the computer.

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Fruits and vegetables featured a few times.

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Creative experiments: plant collage

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Soon after I moved to the UK, around 10 years ago, I bought my first house plant. It has been with me through moving house, several times (including moving city – twice!), and through all kinds of neglect (I know, shame on me). The poor thing got bent out of shape – literally.

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Plant Something Daily – April Favourites

A third of the year has already gone by! Doing my #plantsomethingdaily drawings has been an interesting way of tracking the progress of time. Here are a few favourites from April…

 

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Plant Something Daily – February Favourites

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My daily art challenge continues. There have been times, when I’m just about to go to bed, after working really long hours, and I remember that I haven’t created the day’s piece! It’s been so tempting to just give that one time a miss. However, thanks to all the wonderful encouragement you’ve been showing me, I’ve stayed on course and I’m really grateful for that.

Above are some of my favourites from February. It’s interesting how different themes emerge:

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Plant Something Daily – January Favourites

Plant Something Daily Art Lulu Kitololo

 

I reached a turning point mid-last year when, I decided to stop talking and start making, putting an end to years of creative frustration. It's not that I was previously lacking in ideas but rather, that I had been fooling myself that I just didn't have the time.

And then I made the time and it led to so many great things: showcasing at events like Africa Utopia and the Renegade Craft Fair; getting featured on one of my favourite blogs, Fly, not once but twice and; generally receiving such great feedback from people.

To keep the making momentum growing, I've set myself a challenge for 2015: to create a piece of plant-inspired art, every single day. Why plants? Well, besides Africa, nature is my biggest muse and I think we can agree that plants make (most) people happy.

On this last day of January, I can say that I have successfully stuck to the challenge! I'm really proud of myself for that. Especially as this month has been busy beyond belief – I've had so many excuses not to create my daily piece! In this way, this challenge has been a great exercise in self-discipline.

It's also been good for helping me to let go of expecting everything to be perfect. As I shared with one of the drawings from last week – I'm not necessarily happy with each drawing but, I'm happy I've made each drawing.

Above are some of my favourite pieces from January. I post them each day after making them, on Instagram (#plantsomethingdaily) and on my new Facebook page, dedicated to my art. View the collection so far and follow the journey – help keep me accountable!

Have you set yourself a daily/weekly/monthly challenge this year? I'd love to hear more about it and see what you're working on. 

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Creative Muses: Plant Life

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The weather in the UK has been refreshingly wonderful for the past few weeks. I've tried to spend as much time outdoors as I can which means, more encounters with one of the greatest sources of inspiration in my book – plants! The colours, the patterns, the sheer diversity –  plant-gazing is surely one of the purest delights. 

 

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Fruits and vegetables count as plant life for me. I've found that my paleo journey has exposed me to varieties that I had not come across before! I've been frequenting my local farmers' market where I can buy organic produce at prices that rival those of even conventional veggies in the supermarket. Above, round courgettes (aka zucchini) from Wild Country Organics

 

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Spotted these Dahlias this past weekend in Manchester, at a charming quirky boutique flower shop called Northern Flower. It was stocked with the most interesting selection of plants, including venus fly traps!

 

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Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that the gardens at the Horniman Museum count as one of my favourite places in London. The image above was enhanced with a little help of that wonderful tool, VSCOcam.

 

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I find it hard to walk by florists without pausing to take a picture. Especially in summer when their wares are out on the pavement begging for it. This one is in Bethnal Green and unfortunately I didn't note the name …

 

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I do have quite a bit of fun manipulating enhancing photographs on my phone. It has become one of my favourite commute-time activities!

 

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Horniman again. And there will be more …

 

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Chilli peppers at the Northern Flower. I was so tempted to purchase a pot or three!

 

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Horniman …

 

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This regal beauty caught my eye as I was walking along the riverbank, not far from the Tate Modern museum.

 

Nature, the universe and mother-love

I came across some quotes by environmentalist, naturalist, traveler, writer, and scientist, John Muir, that I totally resonate with:

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

There is a love of wild Nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love ever showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.

 

I found them here, where you can read plenty more from his book, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir (which is now on my wishlist!).

 

What about nature inspires you?

 

All photos by Lulu Kitololo. 

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