Communicating with nature - my inspiration

“There is nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend” Bob Ross

Do you ever communicate with nature?

I do. I have conversations with birds that I meet on my walks. I talk to lizards and bees. I talk to the trees that I pass every day. I listen in turn to the rustle of their leaves as if they’re talking to me, and enjoy the dapple of sunlight on my face from the sun smiling at me. I eavesdrop on the frogs croaking in the wetland grasses, going silent for a moment as I pass, and then, reassured that they are safe, recommencing their discussions.

I have regular visitors in my backyard (birds, bees, possums, lizards) that I recognise, and they recognise me. We’ve learnt to understand each other’s behaviours, are respectful of each other’s space, and we have gradually built up a relationship.

I talk to the fruit trees in my garden, marvelling at how they are growing up, watching and listening as they produce blossoms then become laden with fruit, even though they are still so very young and small.

Such a tiny tree, laden with fruit.

Such a tiny tree, laden with fruit.

Communication is not always about speaking. It’s about listening and seeing and interacting. When I’m feeling down I turn to nature to lighten my mood. When I’m in good spirits I relish my relationship with the natural world.

Nature is my friend, my artist’s muse, my inspiration.

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin” William Shakespeare

Why I Love Watercolour

“After a thousand watercolors you will find you have fallen in love with paper and paint.” (Rex Brandt)

I’ve worked with other mediums and other surfaces, but I consistently come back to my watercolours on paper.

-      I know watercolours are not as popular or well regarded as other mediums.

-      They are harder to sell and frequently sell for less than other mediums.

-      They are best framed with mats and glass for protection, which makes them heavy and fragile, as well as adding expense.

But I love working with watercolours. It’s exciting, it’s challenging, it’s frustrating, it’s passionate. It’s like a dance, a special magic, playing with the flow of water and paint, the intriguing colour blends, the surprising textures and shapes left when the water dries.

From a practical perspective it’s also quick and clean to use and easy to clean up.

My 2 Best Reasons to Use Watercolour

Versatility. So many ways to use it, depending on your mood and subject matter. So many techniques, that range from delicate thin transparent washes, to robust layers of colour filled with textural effects, to detailed flat colour, to waterfilled washes that run down the page. Different outcomes depending on different types of paper, and the way you use water.

Watercolour has a mind of its own. It can’t be totally controlled and manipulated, so you’re never quite sure what you’ll end up with. Sometimes exasperating, but so often breath-taking in its beauty, and this is the joy of working with it. It so frequently feels like the medium itself is the artist, just letting you play around and dabble to help it along.

Patterns in Nature

Nature abounds with pattern. On my daily walks past gardens, through bush and wetlands, I can’t help but be awed by the myriad shapes, colours and designs, from the intricacies of one little leaf to the repeated shapes in a line of wetland grasses swaying in the breeze. Or the sunlight shining in patterns through branches and leaves.


Is it all just one big maths lesson?

In the words of Euclid: "The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God"

Sequences and repetition, symmetries and spirals, tessellations and fractals? Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio?

I can’t dispute the calculations and explanations of the experts. But I’m an artist. I see the patterns, but I can’t respond with equations. I respond to nature’s cleverness with my emotions, with my way of seeing. I see juxtapositions of light on dark, of large and small, of repeated and contradictory shapes. I see nature’s little stories. And that’s what comes out in my paintings.


Nature’s clever design

Nature’s clever design

Nature’s stories inspire my paintings

Nature’s stories inspire my paintings