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How to Start an Art Collection

art and nature essay

Whether you consider it an investment, a hobby or just a cool way to decorate the walls in your home, acquiring new art can be a fun and exhilarating experience. Although many people assume collecting art is only for millionaires, the truth is you can start your own art collection on any budget. You may not have the funds to fill it with famous pieces, but all that matters is that you fill it with pieces you love.

Know What You Like

First, only collect what you like, even if it’s something obscure that others may not appreciate or understand. Unless you’re just trying to make a quick buck — and that’s often hard to do — putting together a collection won’t be fun if you force yourself to choose items just because they’re trendy. If you aren’t sure what you love, go to the library and check out some art history books. Go to art galleries in your community, and check out the artisan booths at local fairs and festivals. Do a simple internet search, visit an antique store or flip through the art at your local craft store or big box store. Figure out what appeals to you, and use that as a starting point.

Know Where to Look

The next step is knowing where to find the art you like. Some of the places you visit to discover your taste may also sell the types of pieces you like. Craft fairs, festivals, antique shops and galleries are good examples, but you can shop for art at many other places, including estate sales, where you may find rare and unique pieces, and art websites like Etsy, ArtStar, Uprise Art and Editioned Art. Some artists allow you to visit their studios, and auction houses typically have art in their inventories. If you go to auctions outside of major cities, you may even find a rare piece at an excellent price.

Do Your Homework

Before you make a purchase, especially an expensive purchase, you want to do your homework on the artist, the item and its background before signing on the dotted line. In some cases, the seller may not realize the value of an item and sell it for a bargain price, but you don’t want to pay too much for a piece, even if you love it. You also want to avoid buying something advertised as an authentic piece that is actually just a reproduction. Be on the lookout for fraudulent items, and learn how to read the documentation that verifies the authenticity and provenance of a piece of art.

Take It Slow

If you know your budget for starting an art collection, don’t rush out and spend it all in one day. Don’t expect to put together a huge, envious collection overnight. It takes time to curate the perfect collection for your interests, tastes and passions. For many art collectors, the hobby becomes a lifelong journey. You never know when a new artist you discover turns into a huge success, making that $100 painting you bought worth a small fortune — and bragging rights — one day. Starting slow also allows you to save up for the more expensive pieces you may want to buy one day.

Treat Your Art Well

Finally, after you purchase your first pieces, make sure you take care of them. Learn how to display and preserve everything you buy, and make sure you have plenty of space to keep your art. Sure, you could rent a storage building if you don’t have enough room in your home for all your treasures, but what’s the point in having an awesome collection if you can’t show it off? If you acquire expensive pieces, insure them against theft and disasters. You may also want to make a plan for what happens to your art after you pass away. If you don’t have family, you may want to donate art to a museum or charity, for example.


art and nature essay

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Tate Etc 18 June 2018

Opinion Art and Nature

John-Paul Stonard

Art can only ever express the distance between humans and the natural world

Fan Kuan, Travellers among Mountains and Streams c.1000, ink on silk hanging scroll, 206.3 x 103.3 cm

The Collection of National Palace Museum, Taipei

‘Through art we express our conception of what nature is not.’ – Pablo Picasso, 1923

Picasso was right. No matter how naturalistic a work of art, it is always more about art than nature. Works of art show our sense of being apart from the natural world, our stubborn sense of difference from other animals and the the universe in which we find ourselves.

Landscape paintings made in China around the 900s are among the first great poetic statements of this sense of apartness. Fan Kuan’s hanging- scroll painting Travellers among Mountains and Streams , the most famous of this school, shows the ‘unendurable contrast’, as the poet and translator Arthur Waley put it, between the human and natural worlds. Vast cliffs swamp the human world, tiny figures lost in the ink-drawn landscape.

It was an idea taken up in European art many centuries later – a sense that nature was beyond human control. I love James Ward’s great, glowering painting Gordale Scar 1812–14 , in Tate’s collection, but it does nothing to rid you of your deep sense of fear when actually approaching the towering cliffs in the Yorkshire Dales, or to calm your racing heart when scrambling up the dangerous limestone cleft, an ascent both terrifying and impossible to resist. Only at the top, lying exhausted out on the quiet, windswept plateau, is it possible to think of Ward’s painting once again.

Art is constantly driven by the attempt to bridge the apartness of humans and the world. It always fails. In the 20th century, this pursuit became a matter of finding an equivalent not for the appearance, but for the invisible forces of nature. How might you show processes of growth, decay or gravity in art? These are just as much ‘nature’ as a tree in the field. ‘Art imitates nature in her manner of operation’, in the words of the art historian Ananda Coomaraswamy in his 1934 book The Transformation of Nature in Art . This tradition of thought was brilliantly summarised by Clement Greenberg in his essay from 1961 ‘On the Role of Nature in Modern Painting’. He describes how impressionist artists tried to resolve all conflict between art and nature by bringing painting to the verge of abstraction, but it was for the cubists to realise what this meant: ‘When Braque and Picasso stopped trying to imitate the normal appearance of a wineglass and tried instead to approximate, by analogy, the way nature opposed verticals in general to horizontals in general – at this point art caught up with a new conception and feeling of reality that was already emerging in general sensibility as well as in science’. Perhaps this was when Picasso first conceived his ‘not nature’ definition of art.

Ward’s Gordale Scar now seems prophetic of how this feeling of reality has become, in our own times, so dark and dangerous. John Ruskin was among the first to realise that man had ‘desacrilised’ nature, as he put it, viewing it as a source of raw materials to be exploited, emptying it of its mystery. It is no longer simply a feeling of apartness, but also a sense that we own and control nature. But art shows us that we do not. We have laboratories where we recreate the birth of stars. Art is a record of our changing encounter with nature, and reveals the truth that our sense of separation is mere illusion — we are a tiny part of a greater whole. Art ‘cannot stand in competition with nature’, Hegel once wrote, ‘and if it tries it looks like a worm trying to crawl after an elephant’.

John-Paul Stonard is a writer and art historian. He is currently writing a book telling the story of art, from Palaeolithic to the present day, for Bloomsbury.

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Issue 43: summer 2018.

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Art and Democracy

A response to Ai Weiwei's quotation on art's relation to democracy

Mind fields

Jonathon Porritt , Wim Wenders , Siobhan Davies , The Reverend Alan Walker , Richard A. Fortey , José Loosemore , Mark Avery , Michael Palin , Thomas Joshua Cooper , Rick Stein and David Matthews

Tate Etc. introduces eleven personal responses to artworks that reflect the changing face of a nation.

Staring into the contemporary abyss

Simon Morley

In the early eighteenth century Joseph Addison described the notion of the sublime as something that ‘fills the mind with an agreeable kind of horror’. It was an idea feverishly explored by artists such as Turner, John Martin and Caspar David Friedrich, and further taken up by the American abstract painters Rothko and Barnett Newman. But how about now? As Tate comes to the close of a three-year research project, ‘The Sublime Object: Nature, Art and Language’, Tate Etc. explores how contemporary artists have responded.

Nature in Art

The exploration of nature in art can take endless forms, because nature provides us with such a vast wealth of inspiring phenomena. 

“ “Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical universe, material world or material universe. “Nature” refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general.” ”

Landscape pastel painting by Thaneeya McArdle, created using Prismacolor NuPastels

Landscape pastel painting by Thaneeya McArdle, created using Prismacolor NuPastels

That gives us a lot to work with! Nature is both all around us and deep within us. We are inseparable from nature - our bodies, lives and minds depend on the air we breathe and the food we eat. The earth sustains our very life force. Without the earth - without nature - what would we be?

Artwork based on nature can take many forms and serve many purposes. Because "nature" is such an immense topic that encompasses so many things, I can only provide a partial list of the various subtopics that may appear in nature-related artwork:

flowers, plants, trees, botany, animals, cells, anatomy, bodily systems, weather, geology, matter, energy, fossils, any of the natural sciences, water, fire, environment, conservation, natural history, processes, evolution, birth, growth, aging, decay, change...

And of course within each subtopic, there are further subtopics, and on and on...

So if you want to create a work of art based on the theme of "nature", you've really got a whole planetful of ideas to work from!

Below you can see one of my colored pencil drawings, Cosmic Frog , followed by a brief description of the way this drawing addresses the subject of nature.

Cosmic Frog - 4" x 6" - Prismacolor Colored Pencils on paper

Cosmic Frog - 4" x 6" - Prismacolor Colored Pencils on paper

This drawing is part of my Deep Thinkers series, in which various animals are juxtaposed with evidence of human thought, in the form of mathematical equations, quotes, definitions, musical scores, etc. These pieces approach the topic of nature in art by depicting a zen-like transcendent bridge between conceptual thinking and animalistic consciousness. These two contrasts are united by a careful use of color and decorative design. This piece depicts a frog in front of a series of black hole equations.

This drawing depicts one way of approaching the topic of nature in art. My Cosmic Frog drawing ties together earthly, amphibious life with cosmic, universal calculations - thus combining something small and recognizable with grand concepts that are abstract and intangible to our human consciousness. Frogs and black holes - makes for an interesting contrast!

Many forms of nature in art

Nature in art can take many visual forms, from photorealism to abstraction. Art can mimic nature, by seeking to visually replicate objects as they actually appear in real life. But abstract paintings can also take their visual cue from actual forms in nature, such as the painting below. This piece arose from the study, observation, and contemplation of natural phenomena and natural forms. When sitting at the easel, I used creative liberties to assign bright colors to detailed patterns that were inspired by what I had seen in my natural surroundings.

My painting below, Fulgent Life , is another example of nature in art. This painting was heavily influenced by my up-close observations of plants and insect life whilst living on an isolated hilltop in southern France. This painting depicts the elements of earth - rocks, stones, soil, minerals, and the things that live amongst them. This artwork was based on the forms that I observed in nature, which I used as a starting point to create an imaginative, abstract work of art. 

Fulgent Life - 6" x 6" - Acrylic on Wood Panel

Fulgent Life - 6" x 6" - Acrylic on Wood Panel

Art with a Purpose

There are many different ways to approach the subject of nature in art. Art can open our eyes to the intricacy and beauty of the natural world. It can simply be a pretty picture that appreciates nature for what it is... or it can be a challenging piece expressing our complex human connection to nature. Art can serve a purpose beyond being an object of beauty: it can also address pressing environmental issues and topics about conservation, sustainability, preservation, biodiversity, and threatened habitats. Art has the ability to interact with and educate the viewer about these issues, spreading awareness about such important topics. We feel an instinctual need to take care of the things we feel connected to. Art can help renew, or spark anew, our connection with nature.

Sustainable art is a movement whose aims are to ignite discussion (and adjust our perception) about the way we use our resources. Sustainable art seeks to make us think more deeply about the impact that our lifestyle choices have on the planet. Artists for Conservation is a group of artists who, in various ways, support nature through their artwork. They paint nature in art in the form of beautiful and idyllic images of animals and landscapes. In addition, they also donate a portion of their art sales to conservation efforts. Nature in Art is a British museum devoted entirely to artwork inspired by nature. They have an extensive collection of artwork covering a 1500 year time period, representing over 60 countries and cultures. In addition to their permanent collection, they have special exhibitions as well as classes and events for adults and children.

Use Art to Connect with Nature

In these hyperreal, digital times, it is easy to forget, and even resist, that we are susceptible to natural forces. Art can help us become more conscious of our true relationship with nature. It is undoubtedly important to feel a connection to the natural world... in fact, it is vital to our survival!

The first step to creating art based on nature is to spend time in nature. So unplug yourself. Turn off your screens. Go outside. Tune into your surroundings. Feel the wind upon your cheek. Observe the veins of a leaf, sit against the trunk of a tree, watch a river flow.

Let your mind be as vast as the sky.


Bring a sketchbook and see what arises!

Abstract Art Leaf

Making art from nature returns us to our natural roots, bringing the artistic process back to basics. Learn about nature-inspired art and artists!

Art lessons & inspiration

Learn to color in this whimsical owl with alcohol markers, colored pencils and paint pens!

Cute owl alcohol marker coloring lesson from the Ultimate Guide to Using Alcohol Markers

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Colored Pencil Tutorial

Frog colored pencil coloring tutorial by Thaneeya McArdle

Follow along every step of the way as I color in this whimsical frog coloring page that I created for my Woodland Mandalas Coloring Book! This detailed colored pencil tutorial will help you learn which colors go together to create depth and shading, which is useful knowledge that you will take with you when you create your own colored pencil drawings!

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Colored pencil bird drawings by Thaneeya McArdle

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Groovy Poodle Lesson

art and nature essay

Learn how to color in this groovy poodle in my step-by-step alcohol marker coloring lesson !

Check out these recommended books! If you make a purchase we get a small commission that supports this site !

art and nature essay

art and nature essay

art and nature essay

Are you interested in drawing animals ? Visit my friend Ivan's fantastic site, where you can learn how to draw animals (and many other things also)!

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Finding Beauty of Nature in Art

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Nature is a huge part of our lives. While we appreciate the blessings she imparts on us, we often forget that we are robbing her treasures and thus disclaiming our generation the pleasures of enjoying nature in all her abundance. Conceptually there are a variety of ideas I would like to explore in relation to sea animals in order to express the beauty beneath nature. When I encounter the natural environment I aim to glance past the negativity such as pollution, poverty, over population and natural disasters but focus on the hidden beauties of our planet which are usually forgotten yet destroyed.

The society we live in is fixated on artificial things, everywhere we look, we see man made machines and gadgets. In a world that has been consumed by electronics and artificial things we can often forget to take the time to appreciate the natural environment which surrounds us.

As a society we depend on our eyes, we don’t use our mind’s eye to view things.


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In reality we are limited to what we can see and what is displayed in the media. Why live in this world where we are limited, when we can create our own world full of possibilities. Every time an oil spill into the ocean, every time we cut down trees, let us not forget we are destroying the most cherished inheritance we can leave behind for our future generation. In creating my artwork I hope to uncover the beauties of nature from a different perspective in order to send out awareness to save the marine life animals.

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My main focus throughout the year will be based on the immediate environment and surroundings I live in. I plot to visit The Melbourne Aquarium to increase my knowledge concerning the sea life in hopes to detect great inspirations for my resolved artworks. I scheme to use images such as…

I anguish to look further into ceramics; I plan on hand making my tiles to create my resolved artwork. I believe that my use of tiles will depict richness in colour …

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Humans in Nature

The Importance of Nature in Art

The Importance of Nature in Art

People use art to help their well-being but also to draw attention to societal changes and issues. The combination of art and nature allows people to explore the natural world, create more profound meaning for themselves, and connect people through understanding and viewing their artwork. This article will discuss the importance of integrating art and nature and how various artists used nature to inspire them.

Throughout time, artists have used nature as a muse or motivation for creating different forms of art. Nature can provide endless forms of inspiration, and it can be a critical theme in many forms of artwork. Henry Matisse 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.” Artists use nature to express themselves but also to understand their work and themselves on a deeper level. To do this, artists may even use nature within their creations, such as wood, clay, water, and graphite, which are all-natural mediums.

There has also been some research done on the importance of art and nature to the well-being of others. Thomson et al. (2020) found that creative green prescription programs, which combine arts- and nature-based activities, can significantly impact the psychosocial well-being of adult mental health service clients. They recommended that museums with parks and gardens blend programs to incorporate nature, art, and well-being. Kang et al. (2021) found that nature-cased group art therapy positively affects siblings of children with disabilities. This type of art therapy increased their resistance to disease and their self-esteem while alleviating stress.

The Jan Van Eyck Academy in the Netherlands has opened a lab for artists to do their own nature research. They created a facility to support woodworking, printmaking, photography, video, and metalwork while allowing artists to explore their work and relationship with nature. This lab gives the artists a chance to consider nature in various ways, including its relation to ecological and landscape development issues to begin to bridge a gap between humankind, nature, and art. There needs to be more scientific research on the importance of nature and art; however, we see that artists are already beginning to research how nature affects their work and overall mindset.

How have artists used nature in their work?

Renowned artist Vincent van Gogh, was able to bring aspects of nature to life in his paintings. His work has allowed people to understand nature in different forms and bring people together. A recent exhibit of his work brought people together for a visual and thrilling experience.

art and nature essay

Nature also inspires modern artists, such as Mary Iverson , who draws inspiration from the natural beauty around her. Her paintings offer a contemporary spin on traditional landscape art, and she uses monuments, national parks, and societal issues (like climate change) as inspiration. She began addressing climate change in her art because she wanted to combine her environmental activism and painting interests.

Another modern artist, Miranda Lloyd , creates contemporary abstract nature art, such as trees, birds, and other naturalistic nature scenes. She uses inspiration from her own backyard and paints many scenes that are inspired by the sea. Miranda is an excellent example of how you can be inspired by nature within and outside of your home.

Additionally, items from nature can be used to create new forms of art. Renowned artist Daniel Popper creates larger-than-life sculptures, and many of them are designed with forms of nature. He currently has an outdoor exhibit at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL, called “Human+Nature.” This exhibit connects people and trees through sculptures and other forms of art. As stated on the Morton Arboretum’s website, “People rely on trees for clean air to breathe, shade to cool, and beauty that can bring joy and relaxation, among many other benefits. In turn, trees need people to care for them to thrive and share their benefits, especially in a changing climate.” Individuals can begin to reimagine their relationships with trees as they explore these large-scale artworks. Below are a few pictures from his exhibit!

art and nature essay

In our next article about nature and art, we will take a deeper dive into how art can create different forms of purpose for various individuals and discuss places all over the United States that have spaces for art and nature!

Thomson, L. J., Morse, N., Elsden, E., & Chatterjee, H. J. (2020). Art, nature and mental health: assessing the biopsychosocial effects of a ‘creative green prescription’museum programme involving horticulture, artmaking, and collections. Perspectives in public health, 140(5), 277-285.

Kang, S., Kim, H., Baek, K., (2021). Effects of nature-based group art therapy programs on stress, self-esteem and changes in electroencephalogram (EEG) in non-disabled siblings of children with disabilities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18

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Artistic Representation of Nature Essay

One of the main qualities of visual art is that it allows people to get in touch with the surrounding physical reality through the perceptual lenses of another person’s mind – hence, making it possible for the spectators to experience the sensation of aesthetic pleasure. 1 The derived pleasure often proves particularly intense when the art piece in question is inspired by the works of nature, or when it is concerned with depicting the natural environment.

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This simply could not be otherwise – nature has always served as an important source of creative inspiration for many generations of artists. The actual explanation for this has to do with the innermost essence of art, as the instrument for amplifying the pleasurable aspects of one’s ‘experience of being’. 2 When exposed to the elements, most people naturally grow to feel aesthetically overwhelmed – especially when surrounded by some breathtaking scenery. In its turn, this triggers several artistic anxieties in them – hence, prompting the affected individuals to consider creating art, or to act ‘artfully’. 3

Nevertheless, even though nature does inspire artists more or less equally, how they channel their fascination with the natural environment vary rather substantially. The most logical explanation as to why this is being the case is that just about any nature-inspired work of art is reflective of the specifics of ‘mental wiring, on the part of its creator. 4 What this means is that it is possible to experience the aesthetic thrill of observing ‘nature art’, and to gain certain insights into the innermost workings of the affiliated artist’s mentality. To substantiate the validity of this suggestion, I will discuss some nature-depicting paintings by Janaina Tschape and Katherine Del Barton.

Janaina Tschape is a German-born artist, who had spent her formative years in Brazil, and who now resides in New York. She is known for her willingness to experiment with the innovative artistic techniques, as well as for the prominent impressionist quality of many of her artworks. 5 Tschape’s painting Winter stands out as a perfect example in this respect.


Even a glance at this artwork will reveal that by working on it, the artist was the least concerned with trying to ensure the lifelikeness of what is being depicted. Rather, she strived to provide the visualization of the whole range of her feelings, invoked by the snowy weather outside of the window. Partially, this explains a certain nebulosity of the author’s artistic representations of a cloudy sky, trees, water in the river, bridge, and some watery streaks on the window.

After all, it does take some time observing Tschape’s painting to realize that the cloud-like objects in the artwork’s upper part are indeed clouds and not the crowns of some trees, for example. This, however, is exactly what contributes towards strengthening the impression that the depicted objects are in a state of some elusive motion. The unmistakably ‘cold’ palette of the featured colors does its work helping to establish a proper perceptual mood in onlookers. 6

Tschape did not merely strive to ‘catch the moment’ while creating this painting, but also to present its discursive motifs being inseparable from her sense of individuality – hence, the earlier mentioned impressionist appearance of the analyzed art piece. In a certain sense, the artist’s personality is being objectified within the compositional elements of the painting, which implies that Winter is as much about the author herself, as it is about the portrayal of the snowy landscape in the distance. Essentially the same applies to Tschape’s other painting Clouds .


As we can see in it, the depicted clouds resemble the real ones only formally. However, while exposed to this painting, one is likely to experience the realistic sensation of standing under the cloudy sky. Just as it is the case with the earlier mentioned painting , Clouds presents viewers with the strongly personalized artistic account of nature – hence, the presence of bright yellow color amidst the otherwise ‘cold’ ones. In the painting, they codify the hidden ‘clusters of meaning’, which the audience members are expected to be able to ‘decipher’. 7 It is namely while ‘deciphering’ the artwork’s implicit semiotics that viewers can experience the feeling of aesthetic excitement. This excitement will prove particularly intense in those individuals who know a thing or two about the theory of art.

In light of what has been said earlier, it will be appropriate to suggest that Tschape tends to use the images of nature in her works as the vehicles for promoting her own highly subjective understanding of what accounts for the effects of one’s exposure to the surrounding natural environment on the formation of his or her attitudes towards life. Thus, it will only be logical to assume that Tschape’s interrelationship with nature is marked by the artist’s unconscious tendency to think of nature’s expressions as such that serve the purpose of helping her become increasingly enlightened, as to what accounts for human life.

For Tschape, nature is much more of an abstract idea of some omnipresent potency than merely the object of one’s aesthetic admiration. This provides us with a rationale to suggest that both paintings reflect the aesthetic workings of Tschape’s ‘Faustian’ psyche 8 – the artist regards nature to be the actual key to discovering the innate principles of how the universe operates, even without being aware of it consciously. Therefore, there is nothing too odd about the apparent whimsicalness of the artist’s style – it is yet another indication of Tschape’s innate predisposition towards trying to achieve some sort of intellectual enlightenment by the mean of subjecting the surrounding nature to her emotionally driven aesthetic inquiry.

The artworks of Del Kathryn Barton (an Australian artist, who lives in Sydney 9 ) are concerned with the deployment of the entirely different methodological approach to depicting nature, as compared to that of Tschape. The most notable difference in this regard is that whereas the works of the latter connote ‘motion’, Barton’s paintings are best described as ‘motionless’, in the representational sense of this word.

Partially, this can be explained by the reference being made to the technical details of how Barton’s artistic masterpieces come into being, “Her (Barton’s) paintings show an obsession with meticulous mark-making; from minuscule dotting to veins on leaves and strands of hair. Being that the production process for her larger paintings is extremely labor-intensive”. 10 To exemplify that this is indeed the case, we can refer to the artist’s painting Animals , as seen below.


What immediately comes into one’s eye, regarding the subtleties of Barton’s artistic style, is that they are strongly ornamental. That is, the author made a deliberate point of using bright colors to increase the anthropomorphic appeal of the depicted animals – the aesthetic technique commonly used by the Aboriginal people in Australia. 11 The impression that Barton’s artwork was indeed inspired by the legacy of Aboriginal art is strengthened even further by the visual and thematic idealization of nature, 12 achieved through the application of the tiny bits of paint to the canvas throughout its entirety.

Given the sheer amount of time, required to create artworks like Animals , the discussed painting cannot be deemed quite as spontaneous and ‘moody’, as it is the case with Tschape’s Winter and Clouds . At the same time, however, there are a few similarities between the aesthetic strategies of both artists. The most distinctive of them is that, just as it appears to be the case with Tschape, Barton tends to treat the emanations of nature as being highly symbolical and allegorical. The artist’s painting Birds can be considered as yet another proof in this regard.


That is, nature for Barton is more of an abstract idea than something that can be experienced and enjoyed as a ‘thing in itself’. While observing Barton’s art, people are also required to solve a mental puzzle as to what accounts for the proper approach to interpreting this art’s symbolical denotations. Thanks to the artist, there is nothing too challenging about the task. The pale coloring of human hands (one of the compositional elements in both Barton’s paintings), as well as how they are portrayed, implies that Barton uses her art as a medium for channeling the message of environmental friendliness to people. According to this message, people must aspire to live in perfect harmony with nature.

There is, however, even more to it. As it can be confirmed regarding the mentioned paintings by Barton, just about every depicted object in them is shown visually interlocking with the rest, which results in increasing the measure of both paintings’ holistic integrity. This specific effect is brought about by the fact that, despite the elaborative detailing of each component in Barton’s paintings, all of the featured elements (including the tiniest ones) are perceived as the integral parts of a whole.

Therefore, there is nothing accidental about the presence of Aboriginal motifs in Barton’s artworks – the specifics of the artist’s conceptualization of nature correlates well with the provisions of Non-Western ‘perceptual holism’, which stands in opposition to the Western (object-oriented) outlook on the natural environment and one’s place in it. 13

Thus, there is indeed a good reason to believe that the significance of a particular artistic representation of nature should be discussed in conjunction with what accounts for the affiliated artist’s psycho-cognitive predispositions, which define the qualitative aspects of this person’s aesthetic stance. This concluding remark is fully consistent with the paper’s initial thesis. There can be no ‘pure art’ 14 – just about every form of artistic expression is symptomatic of its originator’s psychological predilection – just as it was implied in the paper’s introductory part.

One of this conclusion’s possible implications is that, as time goes on, the positivist theories of art, based on the assumption that there are universally recognized ‘canons’ in the artistic domain, will continue to fall out of favor with more and more people. 15 The dialectical laws of history predetermine such an eventual development.


Chakravarty, Ambar. “The Neural Circuitry of Visual Artistic Production and Appreciation: A Proposition.” Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology 15, no. 2 (2012): 71-75.

Currie, Gregory. “Actual Art, Possible Art, and Art’s Definition.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 68, no. 3 (2010): 235-241.

Davey, E. R. “‘Soft Framing’: A Comparative Aesthetics of Painting and Photography.” Journal of European Studies 30, no. 118 (2000): 133-155.

De Lorenzo, Catherine. “The Hang and Art History.” Journal of Art Historiography no. 13 (2015): 1-17.

Galenson, David. “The Life Cycles of Modern Artists: Theory and Implications.” Historical Methods 37, no. 3 (2004): 123-136.

Hawkins, Celeste. “ Del Kathryn Barton. ” The Art and the Curious , 2015. Web.

Leslie, Donna. “Seeing the Natural World Art & Reconciliation.” Art Monthly Australia no. 258 (2013): 30-33.

McClelland, Kenneth. “John Dewey: Aesthetic Experience and Artful Conduct Education and Culture.” Education and Culture 21, no. 2 (2005): 44-62.

Murphy, Margueritte. “Pure Art, Pure Desire: Changing Definitions of l’Art Pour l’Art from Kant to Gautier.” Studies in Romanticism 47, no. 2 (2008): 147-160.

Pearse, Emma. “Janaina Tschape.” ARTnews 104, no. 9 (2005): 184-185.

Tekiner, Deniz. “Formalist Art Criticism and the Politics of Meaning.” Social Justice 33, no. 2 (2006): 31-44.

Thomas, Daniel. “Aboriginal Art: Who Was Interested?” Journal of Art Historiography no. 4 (2011): 1-10.

Vasilenko, Ivan. “Dialogue of Cultures, Dialogue of Civilizations.” Russian Social Science Review 41, no. 2 (2000): 5-22.

Wilson, Henry. “Pleasure Palettes.” World of Interiors 30, no. 1 (2010): 58-67.

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The Close Connection Between Art And Nature

By Team Mojarto

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 language.

-Henry Matisse


There seems to be a close relationship between nature and art. Nature has become a central theme in many famous artists’ artworks. Nature has proven to be one of the most treasured muses known to man. It provides endless inspiration to artists, where they can bring life to nature in their paintings. Many famous artists like Van Gogh and Monet celebrated nature in their artworks. Nature in art is glorified for its sublime and picturesque manifestation on canvas. It is cherished for its intricacy and beauty. 

Some philosophers including Aristotle lauded that art can mimic nature. It embodies as a true reflection of the artist’s inner soul. Aristotle even once wrote that “Art not only imitates nature but also completes its deficiencies”. This can be interpreted as art not only recreating the natural world but also creating new ways in which to see it in another light. In other words, art is the missing voice of what nature lacks to speak. Here’s a look at some beautiful artwork that can mesmerize one’s soul and convey a sense of deeper thoughts and perspectives.


The idea offered by nature is endless. It is seen as a way to appreciate nature and bring out the complex human connection to nature. From time immemorial artists and poets have connected nature to human characteristics and mood. Earlier artists used art as a medium to bring out the spirituality in nature. They portrayed every landscape, flower, and insect with a touch of divinity, which was largely attained by the use o light and shade. Art was also a way to explore the world of nature. It brought out the beauty and importance of nature. Many artists portray nature as realistically as possible, which led to the emergence of many movements surrounding art. 

Photorealism to abstraction, nature is depicted in every art style. Art movements like Tonalism, naturalism, Plein air, Danube school, and Ecological art were based solely on nature and the natural world. 


Landscape Paintings depict natural scenery in art, which is why it is also referred to as nature paintings. Artists have been enamoured by the beauty of nature and have tried to capture nature in all her glory through beautiful landscape paintings. Traditionally, landscape art depicts the surface of the Earth, but there are other sorts of landscapes that are also depicted extensively in art, such as moonscapes, skyscapes, seascapes among others.

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The Essential Nature Of Art

Florence and the renaissance in art essay.

There were several individuals that helped revive and restore different aspects of this era. Fra Angelico, a notorious priest and talented artist helped to bridge the Gothic Age to the Renaissance. Botticelli, a painter, helped to revive classicism with bold realistic representation and mythology of ancient Rome and Greece with his work, “The Birth of Venus”. Venus was born from seafoam, although some believe she could’ve been born from the rib of Zeus. Some see the painting as the rebirth of Aphrodite.

Italian Golden Age Artist: Sandro Botticelli

Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, best know as Sandro Botticelli, was born on March 1, 1445. He was an Italian golden age artist of the Florentine School, during the Early Renaissance. He started being an apprentice when he was fourteen years old, receiving a fuller education than the others Renaissance painters. His most famous works are The Birth of Venus (1485) and Primavera (1477-78). Botticelli's ecclesiastical commissions work for many important Florence churches and for the Sistine Chapel, where he painted wall frescoes. In Florence, he spent almost all his life painting for the Medici family and their friends, including many portraits and his famous work ''Primavera''. Although, Sandro stayed little known for the centuries

The Seven Principles Of Art

Throughout this chapter it demonstrates the involvement and understanding of the seven principles of art. “The principal of art are the guidelines or the organizing factors in the visual arts that help artists to create designs and control how viewers likely react to art images and objects.” The topics that are included in this chapter are unity and variety; proportion; balance; emphasis; pattern and repetition; rhythm and movement. All of these topics demonstrates how they tie in with one another to create a piece of art.

Why Is The Birth Of Venus Important To The Art World

In conclusion The Birth of Venus, is one of the most beautiful and greatest pieces of European art, and it is for this reason that Sandro Botticelli is considered the greatest painter of the early Renaissance. The elegant piece of art is displayed in a room in the Uffizi Gallery. Because of the different type of texture, color, style, and figures in the Birth of Venus means a lot to the art world and to history. The Birth of Venus still influence all types of people today through children pictures, cell phone covers, clothes, perfume ads, and artist such as Lady Gaga album

The Birth Of Venus By Sandro Botticelli And The Poem Stanze Per La Giostra By Angelo Poliziano

The two works of art that I have chosen is the painting The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli and the poem Stanze per la Giostra by Angelo Poliziano. The Birth of Venus was created between 1484 and 1486 by Sandro Botticelli. It was created in the early Renaissance period and is currently located in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Stanze per la Giostra was written between 1475 and 1478 by the Renaissance poet Angelo Poliziano. Its current location is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, although it is currently not on display. The Birth of Venus and Stanze per la Giostra share many similarities as Stanze per la Giostra was Botticelli’s inspiration for creating The Birth of Venus. In The Birth of Venus, Botticelli has transformed Poliziano’s words into a beautiful work of art. These works of art share the theme of beauty. While Angelo Poliziano describes the beauty of the goddess Venus in his prose, Botticelli has captured her beauty with his delicate brush strokes. I will be comparing the theme of beauty between The Birth of Venus and Stanze per la Giostra as well as connecting it to contemporary standards of beauty.

How Did The Renaissance Change Humanity

Throughout the renaissance and outburst of creativity took place. Unlike Medieval paintings, Renaissance painters represented realism (pg. 328). In order to make these painting lifelike, a new technique was learned, which was, perspective. This taught the artists that making distant objects smaller and arranging objects in certain ways the painters can create the illusions of depth on a flat canvas (pg. 329). Painting by the artist named Giotto were so lifelike that people would try to brush off the fly he created in the painting. These talented artists were what created the High Renaissance. This took place during the 1400’s to 1500’s. Four incredible artists stood out during this time. They were, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raphael, and Titan. These names are still familiar in today’s society. For example, Da Vinci created the mural The Last Supper and not to forget he painted the Mona Lisa, which is very popular to this day (pg. 329). Also, Michelangelo helped design St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, which is also very famous in today’s world. These impressive artists caused many excellent painting and sculptures which not only affected the people’s creativity during the renaissance, but still to this day has affected people's point of view of the renaissance and the amazing artwork

Art Philosophy Statement

I’ve always known that I wanted to pursue art education. Ever since I was a little girl, seven years old to be specific, I have wanted to be an art teacher. I remember vividly sitting in my second grade art class talking to my teacher and realizing that everyone has different skills and abilities, and that perhaps art was going to be mine. It was there in Country View Elementary School that I became fascinated with colors and the idea that an artist can start with nothing and create a masterpiece. Soon after that I came to the conclusion that I needed to do art every single day of my life. This realization that I loved creating art continued, and when I was in middle school and beginning of high school I spent several summers at a summer art camp. The camp

Why Art Matter Analysis

“Why Art Matters” by Thomas P.Campbell, explains the importance of art through cultural aspects and roles played in today's society, to help support funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. He firsts explains that many people often see art as being an unnecessary subject; he then goes onto stating that art provides millions of jobs and brings money back through revenue taxes. Another important idea he makes is,the N.E.A. serves many functions, promotes art, disperses fundings, and helps lower the cost of insuring exhibitions. In addition, he goes into discussing the importance of the N.E.A. being a link between the government and its the people; eliminating the N.E.A. would destroy that link causing the government

Uncovering Historical Context: The Birth Of Venus By Sandoro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli was an apprentice under a Medici artist, Filippo Lippi. Botticelli’s studio was actually inside the Medici palace. Due to his workspace within the Medici palace he eventually became friends with Lorenzo de’ Medici. The piece, The Birth of Venus definitely fit into the new liberal ideas of the Renaissance, as the piece was noted as “controversial”. His painting style changed over time, but The Birth of Venus remains a piece to be analyzed to this day. The Renaissance was a time for new ideas, and the artwork remains in Florence to this day.

One Art Analysis Essay

In Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, One Art, it displays the acceptance Bishop has for losing things. Each stanza the losses get more significant, until she finally displays the one thing she can’t accept losing. Elizabeth Bishop uses techniques such as verse form and repetition to display her feelings toward those losses.

Art Is Unssential For Life

Saying that art is unessential for life, could be the most mindless commits that one can make, for art helps write history. Art is a creative release on a difficult life, as well as a way to document important information in history. Without art, we would lose important historic artifacts that are key for our understanding of the past. Without art we could not look back at history that was laid down for us.

The Importance Of Knowledge In Art

Knowledge lies at the foundation of everything in society. While it may not always be noticed, it is always present. This knowledge is used in an array of processes such as creativity, experimentation, analysis, and so much more. From process to process, or area of knowledge to area of knowledge, all knowledge incorporates the processes of both transformation and description in order to evolve as justifiable beliefs. Transformative knowledge includes the product of an individual’s implementation of their personal cognitive processes to challenge traditional perspectives, while descriptive knowledge results when individuals utilize the new perspectives, allowing fresh outlooks to be perceived. While all areas of knowledge incorporate the use of both processes, some may primarily use one or the other. This can be seen in the areas of art and natural sciences. Knowledge in arts seems to primarily describe the world, while knowledge in natural sciences seeks to transform it through innovation and much more.

Da Vinci's Depiction Of The Middle Ages

One of the hallmarks of the Renaissance is the artists it produced. The era of rebirth gave rise for new creation to flourish in a time where art was utmostly valued. Famous works of art such as The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper were engendered throughout the Renaissance. According to Giorgio Vasari, “Leonardo imagined and succeeded in expressing that anxiety which had seized the Apostles in wishing to know who should betray their Master. For which reason in all their faces are seen love, fear, and wrath, or rather, sorrow, at not being able to understand the meaning of Christ … ” In his art Da Vinci is suddenly able to express more of his ideas throughout his work, something that would have been exceptionally hard to do in the middle ages. The fundamental difference between the Renaissance and Middle Ages in regards to art is that while it existed throughout the Middle Ages there was not this

Birth Of Venus

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli is a Renaissance painting that depicts Venus being born out of sea foam onto a sea shell and other gods and goddesses are bringing her clothing. We can see that this is a Renaissance painting because it is realistic. It is realistic because there is light, depth, perspective, expression throughout the piece. Light is shown through the sun. Depth is also shown through shadows on Venus’s face, shadows on the other people’s faces, and shadows in the background. There are shadows on the shell, the sky, the sea, the ground, and the trees. Perspective is shown because of how Venus is front and center in the painting and how the other gods and goddesses around her and how there are things in the background

The Birth Of Venus Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli, of the renaissance period, was best known for his painting “The Birth of Venus”. Lorenezo the great was the one who set the theme. Lorenzo had poet Angelo Poliziano to do the verses of the Birth of Venus. Once this was set this was how Botticelli was able to paint the painting; he translated the words of Poliziano into the painting. A myth of the Renaissance was that if a man painted Greeks and Romans they were to be superior. That was formed by truth and wisdom. In 1486, Botticelli was commissioned to paint this painting by a member of the powerful Medici. In the painting, the Goddess Venus is seen rising nude from the shore floating on a shell surrounded by others. Venus was the Roman goddess of sex, love, fertility and

Related Topics

nature in art


This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.

The theme of nature in art has almost always been present whether in American art, Korean art, or art from any other culture. Sometimes its depiction can be literal or even abstract, narrowing it down to just colors of the natural world. Nature can be a simple add on to a painting to convey a sense of depth, or perspective. However, it can also be the main focus of a work of art. Just like nature can be recreated through art, it can also be used as a stand in for greater thought. A realistic depiction of a mountain for example can symbolize not only the sublime, but also curiosity for the unknown. Depictions of nature can also be about intellectual thought and spirituality. Art involving nature can be done simply to display the beauty of the natural world around us, to make scientific observations in an environment, or to open our minds to philosophical ideas about our own connection to nature and beyond. The philosopher Aristotle once wrote that "Art not only imitates nature, but it also completes its deficiencies." This can be interpreted as art not only recreating the natural world but also creating new ways in which to see it in another light. In other words, art is the missing voice of what nature lacks to speak.

Drawing Connections

Drawing Connections

Drawing in contemporary art, spring 2017, nature as art, by joseph mangano.

art and nature essay

Alan Sonfist, American (b. 1946), Earth Mapping of New York City , 1965. Charcoal on paper, 19 in x 22 in. University Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Purchased with funds from Alumni Association, UM 1986.67.

Historically, drawing has been used mostly as a teaching tool and a preliminary step to develop ideas before completing a painting. With the rise of Modernism in the 20th century, drawing evolved to become its own medium for artists to express themselves. In the University of Massachusetts’s Contemporary Art Museum exhibition Body Language , viewers had the privilege to encounter different expressions of what a drawing could be in the categories of “Looking,” “Touching,” and “Feeling.” These diverse drawings opened the mind to the broad range of materials and functions of drawing. In particular, a drawing by Alan Sonfist titled Earth Mapping of New York City  stood out to me among the rest. It appears to be a tracing of pine needles and natural objects found on the ground. I became fascinated with the transformation that took place when this everyday, natural pattern found on the ground was transferred into the context of art. As this interest peaked my curiosity, I started to research how artists have interacted with nature and used it as a primary source for their artworks. By considering Alan Sonfist and the works of other Land artists, I came to the conclusion that nature can be represented as a form of art on its own through the inclusion of pattern and interactive experience.

In the history of art, landscapes have proved the most enduring of artistic inspirations aside from the human figure. Only in this century has the enthusiasm for its depiction lessened due to the the multitude of technological developments that have led to a revival of abstract art. As Jacques Ellul states in his Remarks on Technology and Art :

Technology influences everything and has indeed become the chief determinant not only of man’s habitat but also of his history [….] Today art has two main orientations, the first a direct reflection of the increasing role of technology, the second a sort of explosive reaction against the rigor of technological thinking.¹

I believe a major reaction against technology has defined the movement known as Land Art, also referred to as “Earth art, “Earthworks” or “Environmental Art.” Land Art first gained popularity in the United States in the 1960’s and 70’s in response to the cultural turbulence and social unrest of the late 1960s. In order to really inspire people to feel compelled to conserve nature, a more public approach was needed. Rather than representing nature with paint on canvas or the welding of steel, a handful of artists chose to enter the landscape itself and work with its materials directly. Land Art developed out of conceptual practices in which artists started to make interventions into everyday life. These new earthworks did not depict the landscape so much as engage with it. The first works of this kind were created by Michael Heizer, Robert Smithson, Walter De Maria, Robert Morris, and Alan Sonfist. These works distinguished themselves from other forms of sculpture due to their physical presence within the landscape.² Most of these works are also inextricably bound to their sites, creating a special relationship, which in turn becomes the primary content. However, since Land Art can simply be seen as a presentation of nature, what is it about nature that can be translated into the context of art?

Similar to paintings and drawings, nature provides the viewer with a pattern of similar forms that create a composition. Alan Sonfist’s Earth Mapping of New York City is a charcoal drawing that was completed in 1965. This artwork completely transcends the traditional definitions of drawing in its representation of the trace and the mark. A trace is something inscribed by the artist’s direct physical presence, while a mark is a sign placed with deliberate intention. Earth Mapping of New York City exists as both a trace and a mark. The drawing is a rubbing of pine needles and dirt that suggests the composition of the New York City landscape long before it was inhabited. However upon further examination, the drawing transforms into a landscape with its suggestion of depth, mountains, and even animals or figures in action. The possibility of seeing objects and pictures within this abstracted natural composition is what originally fascinated me in the drawing. If this drawing were still laying flat on the ground where Alan Sonfist traced over the surface, I would most likely just see the overall appearance of marks making up the ground. When this drawing is hung on a gallery wall, however, the bold and active strokes begin to mix with the stain-like shadows and smaller dots to create the illusion of a landscape with possible figures.

The possibility of seeing imagery that is not really there is explained by the concept of “pareidolia”. Pareidolia is “a psychological phenomenon in which the mind responds to a stimulus (an image or a sound) by perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists.” Pareidolia was used as a tool by artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci in the Renaissance and Alexander Cozens in the 18th century, both of whom used stains and natural occurring patterns to make pictures. In Da Vinci’s notebook “Precepts of the Painter,” there is a section included titled “A Way to Stimulate and Arouse the Mind to Various Inventions.” Here, Leonardo Da Vinci states:

If you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys and various groups of hills. You will also be able to see divers combats and figures in quick movement, and strange expressions of faces, and outlandish costumes, and an infinite number of things which you can then reduce into separate well-conceived forms.

Leonardo understands that this new device for painting may appear “trivial and ludicrous” but is truly a vital tool in arousing the mind to various inventions.

Aside from Leonardo Da Vinci, later artists such as Alexander Cozens and Thomas Gainsborough, another 18th-century English landscape painter, used the effect of pareidolia in nature to invent works of art. Like these artists, I believe that pareidolia can help us understand a pattern and how it makes feel. This understanding can be important in deciding on the types of strokes and marks that you choose to render a scene or capture an emotion. The ability to see different forms and imagery adds an interactive component to nature where viewers can pull out individual perceptions of what lies in front of them, Aside from arousing new inventions for natural compositions, patterns in nature can also be directly translated as they appear. The idea of referencing patterns in nature dates all the way back to biblical times. In Exodus 25, a book in the Old Testament, God gives directions to the prophet Moses on how to build the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle, with the specific instructions to “be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”³ Beyond patterns, this individual, psychological experience viewers gain is what makes nature a truly astonishing work of art.

Continuing with experience, strong pieces of art often evoke an emotion, bring to light a memory, or change the way you perceive something. For example, when I view works by Claude Monet I am always hit with a sense of nostalgia and familiarity with the landscape depicted as if I have been there in a previous life. This action of receiving a feeling and being put into a different emotional state is what I think makes great art. This one of the strenghts of nature over other forms of art. Ralph Waldo Emerson describes this personal experience with nature in his essay titled “Nature.” The Transcendentalist writer brings up the idea that a true understanding of the self can be achieved by going out into nature and leaving behind all preoccupying activities as well as society. Emerson believes that when a man gazes at the stars, he becomes aware of his own separateness from the material world resulting in an uninhibited  way of thinking.⁴ Like Emerson, I believe that nature can serve as an escape from the material world and can provide artists with a space to reflect on the world around them without the influence over others. This effect that nature can bring to the viewer is why Land Art is especially important today. For example, New York City’s famous “Times Square” is essentially a square intersection filled with over 230 billboards and advertisements. The advertising and influence of big corporations are posted all around Manhattan and constantly invade the minds of pedestrians.

Thankfully, a source of nature can be found in a Land Art work in lower Manhattan. In 1965, Alan Sonfist created the environmental public sculpture titled Time Landscape . This sculpture is an area of plants and trees that recreates the natural heritage of Manhattan long before it was filled with skyscrapers and taxis. In Sonfist’s essay “Natural Phenomena as Public Monuments,” the artist explains that with Time Landscape he hopes to create a space for reflection and heightened sensitivity in a “cluttered and overly rationalized modern world” that would ideally stimulate an altered sense of one’s place within the world.⁵ While critics might view Time Landscape as a simple garden or urban forest, the idea of using this natural space as a source for “reflection” transforms the traditional garden into an immersive experience. I believe the experience that Sonfist’s Time Landscape provides is an integral attempt to reconnect humans to nature.

Today we live in society where advertisements, political opinions, and worldly views are constantly being pushed into our mind by force. According to digital marketing experts, it is estimated that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day.⁶ A study at Oberlin College also revealed that the average American child is able to identify over 1,000 corporate logos but only can recognize about a dozen of the plants or animals found in their neighborhood.⁷ Our society’s loss of connection within nature is creating a population controlled by media and opinions of corporations instead of living out our own personal discoveries and intuitions.

In conclusion, the patterns and personal experiences that viewers achieve when looking at nature justify nature as a direct material of art. While nature can sometimes seem only an aesthetically pleasing source for art, the interactive experience of reflection and individual thought is what pushes nature beyond its concrete existence into the realm of art. More importantly, using nature as a form of art can help compel society to conserve and revitalize our connection with the natural world.

1) Ellul, Jacques . “Remarks on Art and Technology.” Social Research , 1979, 805-33.

2) Beardsley, John. Earthworks and beyond contemporary art in the landscape . New York: Abbeville Press, 1989.

3) Exodus 25:40, Old Testament of the Bible.

4) Emerson, Ralph Waldo – Essays – “Nature” (1844). 1844. Accessed May 02, 2017.

5) Sonfist, Alan. Alan Sonfist: Natural Phenomena As Public Monuments . Purchase, NY: Neuberger Museum, 1978.

6) Marshall, Ron. “Advertising Campaigns.” Http://

7) “Loving Children: A Design Problem, David Orr.” Accessed May 02, 2017.


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