Painting the Patterns of Humans & Nature - Grafica Feature
When was the last time you looked at a flower, or a bird? Really observed its colors, its structures, delightful patterns and irregularities that make it a singular organism in our vast universe? Or observed a fellow human being, for that matter?
It’s easy to allow the universe to slide by us. It’s even easier as we play a game of natural selection with technology, our devices constantly evolving to suit our array of needs and predilections alike.
Staying grounded, as a human, as an artist, is more difficult than ever.
So I turn my phone on airplane mode and go outside, even if it’s blazing hot, as St. Louis summers are wont to be. Other people are doing the same and, somewhat ironically, documenting their adventures on Instagram for the rest of us to appreciate vicariously. I’m guilty of that too, actually. But perhaps, if it motivates us to get outdoors to appreciate the gorgeous planet we are so lucky to live on, that’s a good thing.
Our relationship with nature may be best described with the Facebook status, “It’s Complicated.” Nature is part of us, after all. Whether we feel it acutely or not, being locked up in our cubicles or offices or studios most days, nature is our source and our means of survival. But it will be our demise if we don’t ensure its longevity as much as it is in our power to do so.
As an artist, I have an opportunity to bring people closer to nature: distilling a breathtaking mountain view into efficient brush strokes, carefully observing the minute details of a butterfly wing, or tracking the gentle wave of a person’s hair. As I paint, I examine architectures to see not just my subject, but also the patterns and abstract shapes that come together to make a whole.
Intentional observation extends outside my artwork into everyday moments too, like walks in the park on my lunch break:
I slow down. I pause. I appreciate the fractal pattern of a branching tree, broken up by midwestern thunderstorms and the attentions of local woodpeckers. I take a deep breath along with a photo, which I’ll paint later. I’m reminded that this is what my art is about—that I’m part of our universe, and so are we all. Singular organisms, with delightful patterns and irregularities.