Famous artists such as Van Gogh and Monet celebrated nature in their works. The intricate beauty of nature inspired them, be it the colours of a sunset, a pond full of lilies, or the geometry of a pine cone.
Nature itself offers endless inspiration to artists. The artists bring life into their paintings through observing and implementing the experience of the physical world. They find creative power in plants, animals, or landscapes.
By transferring nature’s complex beauty into a canvas, wall or paper, artists manipulate nature and reshape it into art. Even a realistic work of art is more than a depiction of reality. Art does not recreate the natural world, but creates new ways of seeing it.
For example, the landscape paintings created in China in the medieval times are some of the first poetic statements about our feelings for nature.
Listening to Wind in Pines by Ma Lin (1180-1256)
Likewise, we discover similarities in early Korean art. It attempts to represent nature and the human involvement within it.
Dream Journey to the Peach Blossom Land by An Gyeon (1447)
Even from a few centuries ago, these artworks show us artists’ profound understanding of their environment.
They show us how nature interacts with us and with the entire universe. She has inspired countless paintings, drawings, songs, sculptures, and symphonies, and we respond to each in different ways.
As a result, art based on nature is diverse. It can be a simple visual pleasure or a complex statement. It can occupy a tiny space or a vast expanse. We enjoy it in all its variations.
Some artists are taking their media directly from nature, such as wood, tree bark, twigs, coal, clay, graphite or water. These provide endless inspiration and all are genuine products of nature.
The natural elements that make up our surroundings are the basis of environmental art: leaves, flowers, twigs, seeds, bark, pigments, minerals, stones, boulders, sand, dirt, moss, water, and ice. However, making organic nature a source of material for art makes the artworks often more transient.
Barry Van Dusen is a wildlife artist from Massachusetts, US and I admire his work hugely. By the way, I found his new well-illustrated book, here. His works of art inspired by nature are helpful in showing us his studies of landscapes and animals. He started creating art around 1985 and today he is still busy with his new creations.
Another artist, who is probably more famous and well known, is French painter Claude Monet (1840 - 1926). He was focusing on flowers for the last 30 years of his life. He illustrated the immense influence that natural beauty has on us and on the imagination of artists. I love his water lilies and couldn’t write this blog without mentioning him here.
Water Lilies by Claude Monet (1906)
The connection between art and our environment has existed since ancient humans first scratched their tableau on the cave walls. It is an essential part of art history.
Nature has played a leading role as an inspiration for musicians and visual artists alike throughout the history of the world. In my life, nature plays an exceptional part, too. You can visit my artworks based on flora and fauna here. And here are my landscapes.
For natural artists, kinship with nature is more than just a motif for a painting; it is a lifelong relationship. Hopefully, it will continue to inspire artists and viewers for centuries to come.
I want you to think about it how and if the artists you admire helped you to see the natural world in a new way. For example, Vincent van Gogh advised us to preserve our love of nature as an authentic way of understanding art.
He wanted us to interact with nature and establish a relationship between his art and us, the viewers. He used the surrounding land to depict it, trees, other humans, flowers, leaves, to re-establish our lost connection with nature.
I think that the art based on nature records the changing encounters with our environment and reveals that the sense of separation we may feel is a mere illusion and that we are only a tiny part of a larger ensemble.
In a world that is becoming more and more technological, nature inspired artistic brilliance seems to be increasingly essential for human beings. Nature is a fantastic medium for art in its versatility, beauty, colourfulness, and ingenuity.
Finishing the short reflection about art and nature, I have two famous and inspiring quotes for you (I found these in The Healing Power of ART & ARTISTS - HPAA):
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.” ~ William Blake
“… and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?” ~ Vincent van Gogh
For me, landscape paintings represent nature and I call them often simply ‘nature paintings.’ I think that the entire field of rural art has a fundamental statement of reconnection with nature. Therefore, my artworks are so deeply rooted in the all natural features that surround us.
Let’s go back to nature!
Here is the invitation:
Imagine you are sitting in grass, the sunshine is bright; the air is charmingly warm, bees are buzzing around visiting the millions of wild flowers in the meadow, and a beautiful black bird song carries in the air. You decide to follow the song and walk to the blossoming with white flowers hedge where all the birds live. You feel the summer is arriving at last.
This painting might have something with this vision to do. More or less.
Here you will find the title image - my drawing of a singing Robin.