I started looking at touches of nature that show up on buildings in terms of adornment. Think, for instance, of Antonio Gaudi's Sagrada Familia
, full of concrete evocations of the natural world, an amazing ensemble still rising in Barcelona. At left, a turtle holds up a column at the Sagrada Familia.
At right, wonderful colums that evoke sunflowers, daisies, whatever...)
Even the wonderful soaring new El Prat airport in Barcelona, a magnificently
quiet and well-conceived building, is made more restful and welcoming by its subtle evocation of sea and serenity; a foam green/aquamarine
glass is used throughout the building inside and out.
Some of the most enduringly successful furnishings that have come down the centuries in France and elsewhere are full of evocations of elegant pastoral scenes, birds, animals and flowers.
wallpapers with such scenes abound -
one such example is on the right.
Silver objects frequently evoke nature, in their stylised shapes on teapots, urns, trays... At right, courtesy of Artfinding.com
, is a wonderful George IV English silver urn from 1823, full of echoes of nature.
Furniture, too, has long hinted at animals' feet in the legs and finials of tables, chairs and other pieces.
(At left is a wonderful Charles Cressent commode from 1745-1749 in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum. Image used courtesy of the Museum.)
The Japanese, Koreans and Chinese have always been famed for their extraordinary evocations of nature in the objects with which they have surrounded themselves in daily life. Kimonos and netsuke, lacquer objects painted and carved, basketry and furniture, ceramics - the list is endless, but eloquent of the respect in which Nature has been traditionally held. The same can be said for most cultures and countries around the world.
Sadly, most of us are so often busy and preoccupied that we don't notice many of the beauties of nature that are present in our world, in art and architecture, jewellry, furnishing, adornments or whatever. I am often fascinated to watch people walking - say, in an airport like Atlanta - on the beautiful granite polished slabs that now form the floors in many of the concourses. Most people never even really look at this marvellous touch of nature underfoot.
As an artist, I keep trying to remind myself simply to keep my eyes open and registering. Since I love to try to depict things in the natural world, I tend to gravitate to the touches of nature I find in my daily life. I find them uplifting and serene-making in many instances, and at the least, interesting, because they are also, often, interpretations of how other people have perceived that aspect of nature. Always fun, many times inspiring and enhancing...