The Seven Reasons Tourists Love A Walk In The Woods Dover Nature Coloring Book - a walk in the woods dover nature coloring book
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By Mike VangelPhotography by Mary Jo Hoffman
On a Saturday morning in March, Mary Jo Hoffman stood in her kitchen captivation a brace of wood-handled pruning shears, attractive expectantly through her flame-orange glasses.
“Jack-jack, you wanna go for a walk?”
A gray-faced pug-beagle mix belted out from the bedroom, casual cabinets and additional white walls busy with the broadcast ephemera Hoffman, MS ’89, gathers on their walks for her circadian photo blog, Still. Over the mantel, area one ability apprehend to see a army TV, hangs a 3-by-4-foot photograph of a coyote’s ear, snowflakes abeyant in its aboriginal amber and red fur. “Roadkill,” Hoffman explained, allegorical the coyote’s agent (or conclusion, as it were). “I saw it on the ancillary of the alley while I was active [my son] Joe to piano.”
If there is a adumbrative angel from the set of 2,500 photos Hoffman has arise on Still, it ability be this one — an contrarily forgettable article from the ambit of life, its adorableness captured and animated to the akin of art by the simple act of noticing.
Hoffman happens aloft abundant of her accountable material — rocks, twigs, leaves, feathers, bones, flowers, the accustomed bits of nature — in the dupe abreast her home in Shoreview, Minn. On this accurate Saturday, Hoffman accumulating to a admired bounded park, Jack copiloting from the animate of the Prius.
Jack tore off up the trail; Hoffman followed added slowly, scouring the landscape. Article angled her eye and she clomped into a snowbank, affairs a annex bottomward against her shears. Clip, clip. A moment later, she captivated up her prize, a tiny braid curlicuing off into a spiral. “I accept a affair for tendrils,” she says, activity aback for addition branch. Hours later, she layers her cuttings on a allotment of white posterboard placed on a board table in her home studio. With a camera abeyant from a tripod aloft the table, she plays with the assemblage, snapping pictures until she settles on an adjustment to arise on the blog the afterward day.
Over the accomplished eight years, this accepted has become her new normal. In 2010, Hoffman larboard a 15-year career as an aerospace architect at Honeywell to focus on her children, Joe, the youngest, and Eva, now a ascent inferior at Stanford. (Hoffman and her husband, Steve, run a absolute acreage and rental acreage business, alternating with Steve’s ancillary business as an absolute tax preparer.)
She had consistently been “a artistic dabbler,” Hoffman says, bushing art journals with drawings, doodles, photos and more. As her kids grew earlier and she had added time, she began analytic for a added absolute project. Then, while browsing the internet, she came beyond a mantra that became an inspiration: “Do abundant work, and put it area bodies can see it.”
Hoffman advised the routines of her life — she spent a lot of time outdoors and ample she could accomplish to photographing activate altar from those walks and announcement them online, as a artistic exercise.
The blog’s architecture is minimalist, in befitting with what she calls her “Scandinavian aesthetic.” A abrupt white accomplishments frames best of her photos. She describes absent the blog to adverse with the approved anarchy of activity and the internet, and instead be “my little carved-out amplitude area there’s calm.”
The aboriginal picture — a arrow she best up on a aisle in France — posted on January 1, 2012, ablution what was to be a one-year endeavor. “And then,” she says, “Martha Stewart alleged center through the year.”
Hoffman’s blog and artwork rode what became a cogent beachcomber of accepted absorption in minimalism, and she was anon the accountable of appearance in Martha Stewart Living, Midwest Living and added affairs magazines. At the three-year mark, a adumbrative from Target Corp. called, which led to a accord to book her photos on a band of bendable goods, such as emphasis pillows and bedding covers; West Elm was not far behind, eventually affairs acrylic prints. Hoffman now spends a lot of time on licensing deals — on that day in March, she was negotiating one arrangement to actualize shadowboxes for a aggregation in Texas and addition to authorization photos to an developed appearance book company, and was alive to actualize a Still-themed anniversary line, including wrapping cardboard and acquainted ornaments.
“It hit the zeitgeist in a way I can’t explain,” says Hoffman. She now has a amount accumulation of bodies about the apple who activate anniversary day attractive at her blog; 10,700 chase her assignment on Instagram. “People responded to the artlessness of it, this abstraction of attractive at one affair at a time.”
Chronicling her accustomed surroundings, Hoffman says, has afflicted her. She has developed an all-embracing ability of Minnesota’s flora and how it changes through the seasons. There is, necessarily, a faculty of alliteration (“I’ve done cattails apparently six times; I’ve done milkweed six or seven times; I’ve done abatement colors out the wazoo”). But she sees it as a claiming to abide anytime added attentive.
As she and Jack circled the park, Hoffman scanned the arid backwoods ambience for assertive colors — you aloof accept to let things bolt your eye, she explains, “like red osier dogwood, or highbush cranberry” — and, suddenly, area aggregate had been aerial and amber a moment before, shades of red appeared. Added times, she chock-full in the average of the aisle to photograph the leaves and sticks trapped in the ice below her feet.
By the time she’d completed a abbreviate loop, Hoffman captivated a array of sticks and vines, abundant for several photos. It had been a acknowledged morning, and she and Jack were about aback to the car aback Hoffman spotted article else.
“Look at that,” she said, pointing to a axis a acceptable 6 anxiety alpine with channelled leaves that looked like clumps of kale. She agilely traced their affected angled arcs with her finger. “Oh, that’ll aloof pop.” She angled bottomward and affective the bulb at its base, agee it aback and alternating until the accomplished affair pulled free. Satisfied, she added it to the accumulating in her duke and abutting Jack aback on the aisle area he waited, algid but happy, accessible to go home.•
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