February 16, 2016

How to Be a Wildflower


Today I celebrate the release of my first published book, “How to Be a Wildflower: A Field Guide.” This book is my very heart and soul translated to paper. It’s a glimpse into my past and present, and the enormous amount of the beauty I have encountered in the natural world.

This book is largely inspired by a handful of my favorite memories:

Driving my orange VW van along the California Coast to Big Sur, 

Marveling at a dusk firefly extravaganza in the Blue Ridge Mountains,

Looking for The Mystery Lights in Marfa, Texas,

And getting lost (but pleasantly so) after a 10 mile canoe trip down the Mississippi River. (I can still feel the warm rain of that day and smell the tall green grass we waded through to find the trail.)





It’s moments like these that I hope never fade. So I paint them. I write them out. I make lists of moments, of flavors, of words that stir up these memories like a wild Midwestern thunderstorm. But goodness no, it’s not all about the past. The reason these moments are so memorable is because I was completely and utterly present for them. I was fully alive and enraptured by the simple beauty of the moment: stumbling upon a secret patch of wildflowers, my canoe paddle dipping into still water, or having my hair tangled from swimming in the hot summer creek. 


I created How to Be a Wildflower as a reminder to take note of this beauty and magic that surrounds us — To harness the present moment and savor all the rich simplicity that abounds… if only we can open our eyes and hearts to it. 



I believe this art of savoring bloomed from my rural Illinois roots. As a child, I was constantly enveloped and embraced by nature. It was easy and natural to be present. There would be daily tromps through cornfields to the creek, hours spent gazing up at cloud animals, half-afternoons of plucking 4-leaf clovers from the yard, nights filled with coyote howls and stargazing… it was a beautiful and wonder-filled existence. As an adult, I can see this same wonder in my son's eyes as he watches a caterpillar or studies a single leaf.





I almost lost sight of this magic upon moving to Minneapolis to go to college. I was eager to start a new chapter, but I dreaded moving to a big city, away from the fields and rivers I’d known as home. What I didn’t know at the time was how the move would only strengthen my love for nature and uncover the fact that it is absolutely necessary for my well-being and creativity. I was soon taking note of all of the natural beauty within the city: the Icelandic poppies that sprouted up nearby the coffee shop every spring, the huge oak trees across from my apartment, or the lush ivy that created a screen across my windows. Beauty was everywhere once I opened my eyes to it. 





I’ve since moved some 2,000 miles away from my hometown and have experienced the most jaw-dropping, epic sights in nature. From cliffside sunsets on the Pacific Ocean, or standing so tiny beneath giant Sequoias. I’ve also encountered smaller, simpler bits of beauty, which are arguably just as grand as the sweeping views and giant trees. 



How to Be a Wildflower is full of these simple, yet magical things to take note of… ways to find that magic, ways to keep that magic, and ways to make that magic useful in your everyday life. 

The world is so full of noise and chaos that we must often find a way to retreat and recharge to a simpler way of life. We need to get back to these beautiful sacred spaces among the trees and tall grass and summer rainstorms. We need to remember that life is still beautiful and still sacred. We must not lose our eyes for seeing all the wonder that surrounds us. 



It is my greatest hope that my book will be your field guide to uncovering beauty and creating your own type of magic in life. We all have this ability inside of us. Some of us use it on a daily basis, and others might need to find it again. But I do know, deep in my heart, that it’s there.

Life gives us daily opportunities to be enchanted by our surroundings. Let's make a vow to notice this beauty and live in awe. 

So.
Here's to 
many adventures,
miles of wildflowers,
& being completely overwhelmed with joy.

Love,
Katie Daisy

Purchase How to Be a Wildflower here. Published by Chronicle Books.


How to be a Wildflower Book Trailer from Gabriel James on Vimeo.


21 comments:

  1. Katie, Katie! Dear Katie, I know I do this wrong. But I START writing you here a comment even BEFORE I read your words above. Sorry! It´s because it´s evening and soon I´ll fall a sleep here in Sweden. And then... I won´t be home until Friday in next week.

    I am so looking forward to receiving "How to be a Wildflower". I will have it in the middle of March! I love the title of your book and I love the film Gabriel made for you. Your flowers make me happy!

    OK, so now as I have done this... I´ll start reading and then look around here some more.

    So long and THANKS for the beauty Katie!

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  2. Amen to your words :-)

    And next summer I have decided to press flowers; LOTS of flowers and save them like you do!

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  3. My book arrives this Saturday and I think I shall celebrate by taking it to the beach down the road from my house. We are moving away from the coast and into the hill country with rolling farms and flat fields ... just watching the film of your book makes me want to take my great grandmother's quilt and lay out in the backyard under the Texas stars. Thank you. For inspiring me and filling my home with beauty. Congratulations on your first published book! Is it Saturday yet??? ;)

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  4. I love your passion for all things natural in life. how happy I am to watch this whole story unfold! love, Nina

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  5. your video gave me chills, it is just so magical. your book will bring so much goodness in to this world!!! many nature filled blessings... Delila

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  6. Wowee! I have been a follower of your work for years and I have always been so taken aback by the pureness and the beauty of it all, but this by far took my breath away. I am so in awe of your calmness, your poise your art. I felt it all in my heart as I read through your beautiful well chosen words and as I sat back and watch your video. I too, then felt calm. I needed this so much and I cannot wait to buy your book and sit and gaze at all of the hand painted goodness inside. Thank you for my moment of calm, for the realisation that I need to find that more often and that I need to explore more, search more and find a place where it all comes together. Much love, Rachel

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  7. Hi Katie, It's quiet a while I follow you and your beautiful artwork /blog which is so filled with passion and beauty . When I read about your book I ordered it immediately so it will reach me in a few days I certainly will enjoy it and feel the peace and all the good things you put in it . By the way I also love your 'garderobe' a lot ! I wish you a lot of happiness ,kind regards, Debora

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  8. love you, hope to see it soon in Argentina.

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  9. Another fun from Argentina! :) I´ll buy the book by Amazon in a minutes! I love all your work! congrats, the book is amazing!!!
    kisses

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    Replies
    1. my post for you! http://www.traindevie.com.ar/2016/02/102-inspiracion-flowerpower.html

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  10. I just gave this lovely book to my 10 year-old for her birthday today and she loves it. It's inspiring and interesting to even little girls. She can't wait to go into the woods to have a wanderlust lunch and even got a thermos for tea :-)

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  11. Hey Katie.
    What a beautiful book you've created! I more or less just stumble upon your blog today and I'm so happy I did. Your words took me on a much needed and inspiring daydream journey. Aahh... :) My man and I are looking to change our lifestyle, out of the 9to5 and into LIFE. More nature, more small but profound moments, less stress. I'm gonna keep looking in here, cause you've inspired me.
    Thank you for that. Keep sharing your beautiful mind.

    xx Johanna

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  12. Yes! So beautiful and magical. My favorite book...goes with me everywhere. Love you, Katie. <3

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  13. When will you be re-printing this book? I just tried to order from Amazon - out of stock -(

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  14. So sad. Amazon & Barnes & Noble are out of stock. P*L*E*A*S*E tell me they will be restocked . . . soon.

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  15. What a gorgeous blog! I'm delighted that I found you. I'm going to hint for your wonderful book for Mother's Day (if I can wait that long!).

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  16. Dear Katie, I wonder if you ever go to this page? Maybe you´ll find it in many years from now. Who knows? I am so glad to hear your book has sold so well! I have one of them. I lent it to friends. One friend, Emma asked me to help her order one for her and another for a friend of her. And we are in Sweden. I would want to like you, to find the joy in painting. That ease. That beauty! I have done commissioned portraits for years. Now I take it from square one; studying basic composition. OK, Katie... I should not be talking about this with your blog. It is late at night and I ought to head for bed. Be well, dear Wild flower!

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  17. I have noticed that you have some nice followers on instagram (and on your blog), who do you the courtesy of following you and showing interest in your work. However, you tease them with your products which people admire (and want to buy) in advance of when they are even available by ignoring any and all questions that they have, along with kindness and interest in your work. Yes you are busy, but do you think they are not?

    It seems your followers are rewarded for their interest in your work by having their comments and questions totally disregarded. There is no thanks for the kind response shown to you and your work. Perhaps the philosophy is to treat them mean, keep them keen or something? Obviously people love your work, and why wouldn't they? But what makes a difference (to me at least) is feeling that the artist is a kindred soul and has something to tell us and share with us. We can get indifference mall shops. None of the comments on instagram or your blog that I refer to are mine, but I am sad reading the enthusiasm and sweet words when it seems not to be appreciated.

    I would rather be a cultivated flower with some manners and interest in other people than learn how to be a wildflower. Your work is lovely, but for reasons given above I find I am not your target market.

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