Examining the Relationship Between Nature and Art

From the greatest painters of yesteryears to some of today’s most promising talent, nature has undeniably proven itself to be one of the most treasured of muses known to man.

One of the most remarkable artists to ever live, Henry Matisse once said: “An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language.”

For as long as there has been art, artists have been enthused by nature. Apart from providing endless inspiration, many of the mediums that artists use to create their masterpieces such as wood, charcoal, clay, graphite, and water are all products from nature. 

The artists of years gone by

Although Vincent van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime, he was in a league of his own. He had the ability to bring aspects of nature, such as simple flowers, to life in his paintings. One such a work of art, Irises, is particularly impressive with the life-force of the flowers being almost tangible. Monet is another of the world’s greatest artist who drew inspiration from nature. His series of paintings entitled Lilies is a beautiful showcase of shadows, light, and water and portray his garden in France. Monet’s flowers were one of the main focuses of his work for the latter 30 years of his life, perfectly illustrating what an immense influence the natural beauty around us can have on the imagination of an artist.  

Modern artists inspired by nature

Mary Iverson both lives and works in Seattle, Washington and draws inspiration from the immense natural beauty that surrounds her. Her remarkable paintings offer a rather contemporary spin on traditional landscape art portraying the great monuments and national parks of the USA. Mary’s greatest inspiration comes from the picturesque Port of Seattle, and the Rainer, North Cascades, and Olympic National Parks. Mary’s work has been featured on the cover of Juxtapoz Magazine in 2015 and also appeared in Huffington Post, The Boston Review and Foreign Policy Magazine. She also works closely with a number of galleries in Germany, Paris, Amsterdam and Los Angeles and teaches visual art at the Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon where she passionately shares her love for the natural world with her students.  

British artist draws lifelong inspiration from the natural world

British wildlife artist Jonathan Sainsbury is known for his astonishing ability to capture the fleeting moments of the natural world. Having spent most of his life observing and drawing his various subjects, Sainsbury has become a master at using watercolor and watercolor combined with charcoal to effortlessly evoke a feeling of movement in his artwork. Apart from capturing the very essence of countless natural scenes he also draws on nature in a metaphorical way to refer to our everyday lives. Jonathan’s work can be viewed at the Wykeham Gallery in Stockbridge, the Strathearn Gallery, and the Dunkeld Art Exhibition.

Despite the world becoming more technology-driven by the minute, there are very few things that can inspire artistic brilliance quite like nature does. From a single rose petal spiralling to the ground to a mighty fish eagle swooping in on its prey, the countless faces of Mother Nature will continue to mesmerize and provide inspiration for some of the most renowned works of art the world has ever seen.

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