Beauty and Nature / by Jeannine Cook

I constantly measure my personal luck to have grown up surrounded by dramatically wild and beautiful scenes in East Africa, far away from any city. Later life has led me back to wonderful coastal spaces in Georgia and many beautiful natural areas remaining on Mallorca. So I tend to respond very quickly and with delight to beauty in nature wherever I find it.

I found a wonderful passage in Roger Scruton's book, Beauty, about beauty and nature. With his permission, I am going to quote it, as it bears reading virtually in toto. (I also heartily recommend this book, as it is full of thoughtful observations on beauty and the world around us.)

I quote: "From earliest drawings in the Lascaux caves to the landscapes of Cezanne, the poems of Guido Gezelle and the music of Messiaen, art has searched for meaning in the natural world. The experience of natural beauty is not a sense of 'how nice' or 'how pleasant'. It contains a reassurance that this world is a right and fitting place to be - a home in which our human powers and prospects find confirmation... in many ways, such as on some wild moor, sky-filled with scudding clouds, shadows racing across the heather and you hear the curlew's liquid cry from hill top to hill top, the thrill that you feel is an endorsement of the things you observe and of you, the observer. When you pause to study the perfect form of a wild flower or the blended feathers of a bird, you experience an enhanced sense of belonging. A world that makes room for such things makes room for you."

These thoughts resonate with me and confirm my sense of beauty that helps inform my art-making. What happens when an artist only lives in a world of urban concrete?