It was a sunny April afternoon as I approached a tree-lined apartment complex located in San Mateo. I avoided any extra caffeine that morning because my mind was already racing. I was to meet and interview an artist and naturalist I admire, John Muir Laws. In my head were so many questions that I knew I could not fit them all in during the time we had and I didn't want to screw it up!
I got out of the car, grabbed my gear and began to walk toward his apartment. Before I reached his door, I saw John Muir Laws (Jack) focused intently on searching through his car. "Hello! Jack!" I said. "Did you lose something?"
He proceeded to tell me that he lost his phone. I used my phone to call his number. Before I could even hear the first ring, Jack is diving into the front seat head first with his feet hanging outside the passenger door. In seconds, he was back on his feet with a big smile holding his phone! At that moment the ice was broken. We both laughed and just started talking about the day, the scope he uses in the field to watch birds and a raven walking about in his lawn.
You would have to be devoid of all emotions if not immediately infected by Jack's passion and enthusiasm for nature. He smiles when he talks and uses his hands and body to express himself. His excitement helped transform me from nervous to excited as we began the interview.
The interview was very casual as we sat on his sofa in his living room. He sat cross-legged on the sofa and began to talk about anything and everything. He talked about how he was influenced at a young age by his parents to love nature and how his family encouraged him to sketch and observe the natural world. We talked about geology, art, what makes people tick and most importantly, his new journaling program for educators, what gives him hope. My pessimist side was surprised by what gives Jack hope but after hearing him explain, I walked away with hope and tucked away my pessimistic thoughts.
Enjoy my conversation with John Muir Laws. I hope that you walk away inspired and infected with his enthusiasm enough to get outside, slow down and observe the natural world you live in. The interview will be published, Tuesday, June 5, 2018 so stay tuned.
Resources and More Information About John Muir Laws:
Biography from website: https://johnmuirlaws.com/biography/
Where to find his books: https://johnmuirlaws.com/store/
Classes and Events: http://johnmuirlaws.com/events/
His website is full of free video and blog tutorials such as this https://johnmuirlaws.com/drawing-birds/ so please check it out!
Images from John Muir Laws Books:
Images of Jack teaching and doing what he loves: