Grace Mendez Nature as Inspiration

Nature as Inspiration

Grace Mendez Nature as Inspiration

How can you use nature as inspiration, especially when you are not painting or drawing a nature scene?

Let’s look at trees as an example.

I love looking at trees. I live in an urban setting and a lot of the trees in my neighborhood are set in a landscape. These trees are not growing in a natural grove. They grow between the streets and the sidewalks. Trees adorn common spaces in condo and apartment complexes and grow in the city parks. Arborists chop and trim their tops to fit under the power lines when their limbs stretch to the sky.

I’m grateful they grow here because they are a great source of inspiration (and beauty). You can take their color, texture, size, scale, the way they branch, the negative spaces between the branches, the way they flower or fruit, and use any part as a jumping off point.

Grace Mendez Close Up of HairIn the close-up of the girl’s hair, can you see how the texture of her hair is reminiscent of a tree trunk’s texture? ¬†Although I painted hair and not a tree trunk, I could paint a tree trunk in the same way and it will read as a trunk and not hair.

I didn’t make the association until I took our dog, Olivia, out for a walk. When I saw the tree trunk on our walk, it looked very familiar! When I came back inside to see my drying painting, it struck me how often you can use nature as inspiration. In this example, I painted and then found the inspiration afterward. Most often, the inspiration comes first and then the painting.

In what ways can you use or have you used, nature as inspiration?