As winter descends, let’s hear from twenty great artists on their relationship to nature.

“I have gone into roses and have over a thousand planted. There is nothing like making pictures with real things.”
— Mary Cassatt
“Wherever I go I need a period of incubation so that I may learn the essence of nature, which never wishes to be understood or yield herself.”
— Paul Gauguin
“To believe in nature is enough.”
— Wols (Alfred Schulze-Battmann)
“If we look at the Japanese artist, we see a man who is undoubtedly wise. What does he spend his time doing? Studying a single blade of grass.”
— Vincent van Gogh
“To tell the truth, I could work with one flower forever.”
— Nell Blaine
“Just as I begin to mourn the passing of the azaleas, out comes the mountain laurel. It is so breathtaking, so short-lived, that the enjoyment of it is almost pain.”
— Margaret Bourke-White
“It seemed to me as though the flower I was painting was the only thing in the world. And when the bloom came out, I felt as though a skyscraper had gone up overnight.”
— Georgia O’Keeffe
“There’s a mystery in fallen leaves. I believe most artists are concerned with this mystery.”
— Mark Tobey
“With almost every breath I take I get a new sense of the linden tree, of ripened wheat, of hay, of mignonette. If I can paint three good pictures then I shall go gladly, with flowers in my hair.”
— Paula Modersohn-Becker
“There are small fir cones all shriveled up, whose smell gives us such a feeling of immensity that one strolls through Fontainebleau just as if it were a dwarf’s attic.”
— Nicholas De Stael
“Who can define the moods of the wild places, the meaning of nature?”
— Ansel Adams
“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape.”
— Andrew Wyeth
“The cypresses are always occupying my thoughts. I should like to make something of them like the canvases of the sunflowers, because it astonishes me that they have not yet been done as I see them.”
— Vincent van Gogh
“A dry line doesn’t exist in nature. Each object is surrounded by its own atmosphere.”
— Rosa Bonheur
“Throw open your windows and let the scenery of clouds and sky enter your room!”
— Yosa no Buson
“Dawn itself is the most neglected masterpiece of the modern world.”
— R. Murray Schafer
“I use bear paws on storage jars, water jars, and mixing bowls, because the bear always knows where the water is.”
— Margaret Tafoya
“The artist is the confidante of Nature. Each corolla in the grass is an affectionate word addressed to him by Nature.”
— Auguste Rodin
“When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects are before you. Merely think, here is a little square of blue, here is a streak of yellow, and paint it all exactly until it yields your own naive impression of the scene.”
— Claude Monet
“I discovered that by running against the wind with a bunch of pine branches in your hand, you could have the pine trees singing right in your ears.”
— Georgia O’Keeffe

Share This