Nature Notes by Anne Clarke
Full article available HERE
Many artists take inspiration from the natural world creating wonderful images which help us to see our world with fresh eyes.
Works of art in gardens and parks are intended to complement and reflect each other or interestingly clash. Think of the huge sinuous Henry Moore studies at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Anthony Gormley’s thoughtful men standing on the beach at Crosby, endlessly being covered and revealed by the tide. The Angel of the North with its dramatic and
distracting outline against the sky beside the A1 at Gateshead.
However, the above are exceptional and I often find myself disappointed by the shiny bronze or intricate manufactured images scattered around the grounds of a pristine National Trust Garden!
It is with some relief that I turn to look around at the shapes and colours of the natural world. The sinewy rotting trunk of a fallen tree with its bars of sunlight and shade is often more pleasing. The deep red twisty trunks of a group of old yews. Smooth grey roots of a beech tree clambering over a rock. The comical shapes of an old Hawthorn hedge which is hedge no longer but has become a line of dancers. A prunus serrula in the sun.
Bracket fungi dripping lazily down the trunk of a sycamore (see photo).
These organic shapes and colours are all around us. Even a cliche such as the beauty of Autumn leaves crisp underfoot don’t feel like a cliche when you are walking through them, hearing them scrunch and looking out for the brightest reds and golds among the browns, greens, and pinks. You miss the scent of autumn in a gallery.
If abstract art is your thing how about the Bridget Riley look of a reed bed, or Jackson Pollack – like lichen open to interpretation. Or the simple but effective pattern of a tree’s bark or patterns in sand of a beach below your feet.
It is easy to take the simple beauties of the natural world for granted. It is also easy to overvalue when we have had to pay to view objects with a price tag attached. In nature there are no little notices telling us what it all means…we have to work that out for ourselves but, at least, it’s free.