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Here are 10 nature prompts for artists that will get your juices flowing.
“I have gone into roses and have over a thousand planted. There is nothing like making pictures with real things.”—Mary Cassatt
Real things get us out of our head. Do you need to get out of your head?
“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
What is the “essence” of your particular environment, your particular natural world?
“To believe in nature is enough.”—WOLS (Alfred Schulze-Battmann)
We need more than a belief in nature in order to thrive and survive. But nature is surely valuable. How valuable, would you say?
“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
What “single blade of grass” would you like to study?
“To tell the truth, I could work with one flower forever.”—Nell Blaine
Nowadays we are hooked on and maybe even addicted to novelty. Here comes the next bright shiny object and the next. What might it be like to “work with one flower forever”?
“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
A tree may stand for two hundred years. A flower may bloom and fade in a day. Are these to be appreciated differently?
“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
What in your life is like the experience of a flower blooming?
“There’s a mystery in fallen leaves. I believe most artists are concerned with this mystery.”—Mark Tobey
Write to the prompt, “There’s a mystery in fallen leaves.”
“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
Is there some work that you would like to do that, if you did it well, would be enough?
“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
What small things give you a feeling of immensity?