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Inspired by Nature

JANUARY 12, 2020

Art Inspired by Nature   

In my website bio I state, “I create art out of a need to express the ideas I feel are most important. Ultimately, I think art is about some type of communication. My inspiration, very simply put, is nature. I’m fascinated by how the universe works – by the visible and invisible connections between all things.”

collage on book cover of girl writing, paper dolls, plant illustration, portal into green forest

Forgotten Memory, mixed media collage on antique book cover, 11.25 x 17 inches

“Deep ecology does not see the world as a collection of isolated objects but rather as a network of phenomena that are fundamentally interconnected and interdependent."   

~ Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics

A Long Time Coming

This post has been a long time coming. I had taken some nice photos of the fall colors at our place in the country, and wanted to share them a bit more comprehensively than can be done on Instagram. It had been quite a while since I posted anything about our beautiful retreat on the Kinniconick, so I decided it was time to do that.

But the post kept getting pushed to the back burner as other things demanded my attention. I got very busy - we went to the Smoky Mountains, then came the holidays, and my giveaway.... well, you know how it is. And since I wanted to share some of my photos from the Smokies as well, it seemed like a good idea to combine them into one post. Better late than never, as they say.

autumn trees on hill in Lewis County

looking upward at orange and yellow fall trees
orange and red fall tree against blue sky

While the trees at home just turned brown from the drought, the colors in Lewis County were especially vibrant.

"Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry."

More Than Meets the Eye

Many artists take their art inspiration from nature.There's no doubt that images of beautiful scenery have long been, and today remain one of the most popular subjects in art. While my artwork may not be a literal, direct portrayal of the wild places I love, the symbols and motifs that appear in it reflect that natural world. I use symbols to tell visual stories about the reality that underlies the world we can see with our eyes. And at the deeper level of this unseen world, scientists tell us, everything is connected to everything else.

photo of pond framed by fall trees and hills

 Our pond, framed by trees and hills.

I don't want to get too science-y, but if you think about this for a minute, I'm sure the importance of this idea won't be lost on you. If everything is connected, it's not possible to affect one thing without inadvertantly affecting myriads of others. This is why, for example, we can't (or more properly, shouldn't) indiscriminately pour chemical fertilizers on our fields without taking into account the effect it will have on nearby streams and their ecosystems.

“Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. It shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated "building blocks," but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole."                                                                                          ~ Fritjof Capra

looking down the creek with yellow trees

Looking down the creek from our 'beach'...

looking up the creek with fall trees reflected in water

... and then up the other way...

mixed media artwork of luna moth in night forest with moon

mixed media monoprint with russett and teal leaves

Luna Lumina, monoprint with mixed media Analogy IV, monoprint with mixed media

Smoky Mountain Inspiration

In November, we were lucky enough to be able to spend a few days in the Smoky Mountains. It was warm and sunny, making for some great hiking, as well as unusually clear views of the spectacular scenery.

smoky mountains with green sumacs in foreground

"The environment is in us, not outside of us. The trees are our lungs, the rivers our bloodstream. We are all interconnected, and what you do to the environment ultimately you do to yourself."

two gravestones in a pioneer graveyard in Smoky Mountains
creek with rhododendrons in Smoky Mountains

The first trail we hiked followed this gorgeous creek, flanked by rhododendrons. It then took us by a pioneer graveyard. Many of the headstones were just flat rocks with names scratched into the surface, worn away by weather and time. If you click on the photo above, you can see that Stella Ownby  died in 1907 at the age of two, which was not at all uncommon.

monotype of leaves against a starry sky in magenta and blue

Passage Between, monoprint with mixed media

old stone fence covered in moss in the fall leaves
old stone chimney ruins in the mountains

Everywhere we found long sections of this stone fence, a silent testament to the brave people who tried to settle this land. At one point we saw the remnants of a cabin - a stone hearth and firplace, along with some pieces of rusted metal. I have to wonder how these people would have survived.

confluence of two creeks coming together

I couldn't get a good angle for the photo, but two creeks join together here.

mountain with yellow trees in foreground

Andrew's Bald

We also hiked up to Andrew's Bald. A bald is a high elevation grassy meadow in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Because it's so open, the panoramic view is absolutely unbelievable. My panoramic videos didn't turn out so well, however, so I put together a slide show for you!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my most inspiring places. Whether you're an artist or not, being in nature can always calm, heal, and inspire us. Never forget that we are not separate from it, but are as tightly woven into the fabric of the whole as any other thread.

"A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

creek with large boulders in the Smoky Mountains


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