“Nature is the Art of God.”
~ Dante Alghieri
In a word;
It is why Wildlife art is our favorite Genre.
It is difficult to compete, after all, with Grandmaster artist himself!
But there is more. Below we share 3 reasons why Wildlife Art may be Your favorite genre too!
For us here at Photismos, painting the wild and living things of creation is not about capturing them as they are, but as we imagine that they could be. Every brush stroke intends to capture something beyond words. Every color pursues an untold tale. Every scene and every detail anticipates the coming of a more perfect, and more joyous paradise.
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”
~ Winnie the Pooh
1. Wildlife requires no interpretation
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
~ Albert Einstein
Painting wildlife art, for many artists, is not a process of abstract shapes and composition. No interpretation is needed here. No prerequisite education is required. No sophisticated commentary about any final masterpiece necessary. No. Rather, a simple homegrown observation is preferred. Each work takes on a more realistic depiction where the artist plays as a witness, cautiously imparting their own unique composition, color, style, and emotion.
As a result, much like Bob Ross, wildlife art is genuine, relatable, and down to rugged earth. Let the pure unadulterated nature be the story, lest we misinterpret, and miss all that it has to say.
And, if I may say so, the results can be breathtaking…
“Nature is our best teacher.”
~ St. John Chrysostom
That is not to say that I don’t appreciate other art genres. I do. Whether it’s Mark Rothko’s “Green, Red, and Blue”, Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, or Franz Marc’s “Foxes”. Certainly, some of these pieces can be enjoyed, in their own special way.
But if I’m truly honest, I do get a little cross-eyed straining to workout illusive messages in splattered paint and 4-dimensional anatomy. Deconstructing attractive people into layers of obtuse triangles, and squares, isn't really my thing. Picasso, you hack! 😂 Perhaps I lack education or proper tastes? *Shrug*
For me at least, wildlife art speaks of “virtue” and “sanity” all the way around, something in short supply in parts of the world today.
2. It reminds us of the wonders of creation
“‘From your point of view,’ a monk once asked in a reflective mood, ‘what are animals all about?’
Fr Seraphim replied: ‘They have something to do with Paradise.’“
Well said, Father.
What words come to mind when you think of nature? Go on, ponder it for a moment…Diverse, Colorful, Hostile, Beautiful, Humorous!? All of the above and more?
Surely, there’s no shortage of stories, photos, and memes to fill a museum in every category. And lest you have any doubts. Ever hear of a dolphin locating cancer within a diver? How about a gorilla saving a child fallen into a zoo enclosure, like Binti Jua? Or a man befriending wild lions like Tim Noonan. Or St Seraphim of Sarov enjoying the company of wild bears?
Such stories could carry on for pages upon pages…
But isn’t it a mystery? The handiwork of man is constantly duking it out with the erosions of time, knowledge, fashion, etc. It is, for many things, a perpetual hamster wheel of constant renewal, and reinvention. Yet the budding life of the outdoors thrives of its own accord. It freely gives and it endlessly surprises.
“‘A dog is better than I am, for he has love and he does not judge.”
~ Sayings of the Desert Fathers
Let’s also not forget, many modern luxuries are the direct fruits of being students of nature - and science itself is possible because of the perfectly designed, rational, and unchanging laws that govern her.
Not to mention, the deep and extraordinary Symbolism we can discover in all sorts of wildlife, throughout all cultures, across all time. Lions and Kings (Chronicles of Narnia). Wolfs and Indians. Cats and desert dwellers. Many books have been written. I needn’t go on.
3. It supports awareness of Wildlife
“The Wildlife and it’s Habitat cannot speak, so We Must, and We Will.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt
Yes, environmental awareness is a BIG reason we love Wildlife art so much!
Teddy was right. We only need visit the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) to see the countless challenges we face in protecting critters of all shapes and sizes. We must all do our part to take care of our Earth, because, well, to be captain obvious here for a moment, there’s only one.
Large deforestation in Indonesia for the production of palm oil endangers orangutan populations. Environmental change and toxic pollution endanger the largest mammal on earth, the majestic blue whale. Poaching and habitat destruction critically endanger the Sumatran elephant. It can be a little bleak.
But there are quite a few lessons to be learned here. That our purchasing decisions often have repercussions that span the globe. That regulation and international cooperation help. That through awareness of these issues, there is indeed Hope.
And if through our artistic endeavor, we merely promote more thought about our wild friends of the earth, it is enough. As my mother always used to say, “Be kind to all creatures, great and small.” Great and small, my dear hearts. Great and small.
“O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, even our brothers, the animals, to whom Thou gavest the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of man with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to Thee in song, has been a groan of pain. May we realize that they live, not for us alone, but for themselves and for Thee, and that they love the sweetness of life.” ~ St. Basil
Ha ha. You know, as one begins outlining their thoughts - they discover they go deeper than ever imagined. Immersed in this world, we’re more in love with Wildlife Art each day. The earth is simply full of surprise and wonder. The striking contrast of the red cardinal against the snow. The startling complexity of the eye. The melodic sounds of a whales call. It’s altogether too much. Our cup runneth over. There are stories to tell... There is much to paint.
“What day is it?”, asked Pooh.
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.
It’s a good day to love a bear... or a pig.
P.S. I had to toss this in here on the environmental cue - Check out these guys building a solar & wind-powered cargo ship! So cool!
P.P.S. Oh, and check out these amazing bird portraits too!