I painted this imaginative vision as a young man back in 1978. The title One With Nature aptly describes the concept of the piece; however, much more can be said about it. The intent was to portray the natural world through the mind's eye with vivid clarity, reflecting the experience of a meditative, altered state of consciousness. Inspiration for the piece came from some of my interests in fields such as metaphysics, natural science, ecology, and biology. Fortunately, by that time my personal artistic style had developed enough that I could bring such an idea into a painted reality.
The painting was rendered in acrylics, on a 34 x 24 inch custom-made canvas panel. In keeping with the idea of inner experience, the depicted landscape was completely imaginary. My approach to painting each object was to create an impression of its essential qualities in the form of repeated patterns. Each leaf, blade of grass, hair, rock, tree, and so forth was portrayed as a detailed, stylized design. A side effect of this technique was that it gave a sort of flat appearance, although I had painted it dimensionally with light and shadow. My intention was to use autumn foliage to break up the predominant greens with bright reds, oranges, and yellows. Many of the leaves were painted with transparent color over a pure white base to provide a glowing, almost psychedelic intensity. I used an airbrush to paint the clear blue sky, because fast-drying acrylics are difficult to blend by hand. Since nature would not be complete without some animals, I populated the landscape with all sorts of creatures, some of them only visible upon close inspection.
The meditating figures, merged into the environment, were a true focal point of the painting. Female and male figures appropriately represent duality, balance, and completeness. The pose of the figures was based on the classic meditation posture and designed to be uniquely male and female respectively. To give the impression of their integration with the environment, I left the shadow areas of the figures transparent thereby enabling the landscape to show through them. Utilizing green rather than normal flesh tones gave the figures a mysterious appearance. Overall, this painting does have its strengths and weaknesses, but I feel the two meditating figures turned out particularly well. Looking back, I now recognize that One With Nature was one of my favorite works among the pieces I created during that period.
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© 2019 Joel Fletcher