The perpetual nature journal

Just the other day I was pondering upon how to combine my interest for nature; for mindlessly walking around in the world looking at things that grow, flower and wither, for discovering beauty all around – and my love for sketching. And then, almost as reply to a request, I discovered the unusual talented Lara Call Gastinger and her perpetual nature journal.

To tell the truth, Gastinger’s perpetual nature journal seems to be a perfect answer to my rumination.

Lara Call Gastinger is a botanical artist and illustrator and is most recently the chief illustrator for the Flora of Virginia Project. The subjects of her art come from the natural world and her art reveals detailed evidence of change, decay, and processes that occur in nature.

A perpetual journal is a journal that you date the pages to represent, let’s say, a week out of the year and you return to those same pages every year. So, one page of your journal might have notes and illustrations from multiple years or multiple entries from the same year.


Here is my first installment, week 9, weeds –



Gastinger explains

I’ve been doing this since year 2000. It really helps one learn about the plants and the seasons where they live. What’s cool is that one journal can be used year after year and there is no stress to do a huge drawing everyday or even every week. … I’ve had many sketches that I do not like individually but all together over years, it starts to become something else. … the layout builds upon each year since this is a perpetual journal. So…let’s just say, it’s not very planned out. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much but that’s what journals are for.

You’ll find Lara Call Gastinger’s wonderful work on her webpage:

and on Instagram: and if you use Instagram, you should also check out #lgperpetualjournal 

5 Comments Add yours

  1. bluebrightly says:

    What a wonderful sketch, I love the way you composed the page, the colors, and the general light feeling of it. Detailed but still loose. I’ve been following Laura on Instagram and saw the perpetual journal mentioned, but your explanation here has now cemented the notion in my head. I actually was just looking at photos in my archives of the same plants, taken over different years, a similar concept. It’s a great idea, and may yours go well. Doesn’t have to be perfect, or gorgeous, just keep going, and see what evolves – nice!

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you!
      I really love Lara’s work. I think that making a perpetual journal can be a wonderful way to engage in nature – and life. My plan is actually to start two journals …(!) One for Spain and one for Norway 😌

      1. bluebrightly says:

        It will be fun to compare the two, right? I admire Lara’s work, but sometimes I prefer a little more looseness and personality, like I see here. 🙂

  2. Lovely idea. I kept a perpetual garden journal (the more traditional, word-based kind) for ten years when I was landscaping our house and the journal is one I treasure because I learned so much about this little environment from the process. The sketching is a fabulous idea!

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