For the love of nature

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For the love of nature

Artist, Annie Broadley explores how her connection with nature drives her imagination and her work.

The nation’s gardens, parks, woodlands and rivers have played a huge part in helping us all through the coronavirus pandemic, with almost nine in 10 of UK adults reporting that being in nature made them ‘very happy’. 

No surprise then, that after months of almost deserted beaches and parks and closed public gardens, green spaces are once again full of families and friends enjoying a renewed freedom. It would seem that the spending time in ‘Nature’ has never been more popular.

The importance of our connection with Nature, is something that Scottish artist Annie Broadley has long recognised as being fundamental to her own well-being and to her work as an artist, 'The changing seasons - colours, scents, sounds have a unique impact upon my moods, thoughts and feelings. Stilled by sitting by a gently flowing river or overawed by the majesty of a thunder storm, I find that nature communicates with an immediacy unparalleled by anything else.

'So much of my work, maybe even all of it, is based on an observation of nature in one form or another as my starting point for a painting often grows out of drawings from my sketchbooks.  Although they sometimes transform themselves into imaginary journeys or contain mythical references they tend to be comprised of land, sea, sky, rivers, clouds - compositions based on the elements - earth, air, fire and water.

'The colourful sight of a beautiful bird, flower or an autumn leaf can have a powerful effect on the emotions. The vibrancy of the strong red, blue and purple blossoms which have evolved to attract pollinating insects, make me laugh out loud from their sheer exuberance, while the delicate tint and shades on a closely observed petal fill me with wonder'.

The infinite variety of shape and form within nature, is also something that interests Annie who revels 'in all the natural forms like the curve of a leaf, the complicated twisting of roots, the pattern made by falling leaves'. Annie continues 'Some subjects work better with certain materials - and in some cases are even responsible for creating the subject itself.  For example during lockdown I found that hydrus watercolour inks used on smaller sale paintings helped create an interesting autumnal mixture of colours and I will add them to the range of mediums that I normally use'.

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Gannets on the Bass Rock, watercolour ink on paper, (21x17cm)

Wildlife also features strongly in Annie’s work. 'Birds seem to me to epitomise freedom. They are the quintessential free spirits and I wonder how many of us over the past year have looked wistfully through our windows at them, as they appear to soar without boundaries into the sky. Not for them the restrictions that have kept us closely confined to our homes'.

Annie concludes, 'Poets like Wordsworth and Henry David Thoreau wrote about the spirituality they experienced when in close proximity to nature. I don’t find it surprising that Covid has helped many understand how important nature is in our lives. How we are all connected and that our own well-being and that of nature is so closely intertwined. I do hope that my love of nature comes through in my work and that my paintings might also help others enjoy nature’s amazing beauty, colour and form'.

Image above right - Under the Blossom – an olive grove near Vodnjan, glue tempera & oil on canvas, (55x55cm)

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