“One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structures of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.” – Albert Einstein
In 2009, after a 25-year hiatus, I began drawing again. Initially inspired by a rediscovered connection with nature, a life-long love of books and strong interest in history and science, I began to develop ways to connect all these in my new explorations. Using the simplest of techniques, pen and ink and ink washes, and now watercolor, my goal is to celebrate the amazing structures and forms of nature. While we are constantly surrounded by nature, so much of it remains mysterious, unseen and overlooked by most people in their day to day lives. I try to create compositions that heighten the forms found in the natural world hoping to get people to more deeply observe these structures that are ongoing reminders of nature’s infinite bounty and creativity.
The work is also an ode to the development of natural history art and the artists that changed the way we looked at the world around us. The collecting of flora and fauna for purposes of science and technical study was propelled by the scientific revolution in Europe in the 16th through 18th centuries – a time when there was an incredible new thirst for knowledge about all aspects of the natural world. Artists became critical players, as the rendering of both regional and exotic specimens often became the only way for scientists and the lay public to access the images. Over time, the desire for more precise representation and creative ways of describing what they saw led artists to new heights of image refinement and aesthetic composition. It is their ground breaking work and innovative approach that is a significant inspiration behind this work.
When restarting my artistic efforts, I worked solely in black and white which I felt at the time was the most direct way to focus on structure, light and space – by removing seductive color from the equation the viewer is forced to see these natural objects as pure form and texture. I have now found that I can elicit the visual power and uniqueness of plant structures by using watercolors – the color supplementing and enhancing the play of light and shadow. I intend to continue to come up with ways to compose my images to highlight these structures while seeing if I can get the viewer to find the beauty and mystery in truly slowing down and observing.