Thursday, January 12, 2012

nature in art in nature in art...

"Mommy, why is that lady staring at the ceiling?"

Because it's really, really pretty.

In the National Gallery of Art,
there's plenty of beauty that is not hanging on a wall,
or perched on a pedestal, protected by plexiglass.

Some of it is photosynthesizing.

I took very few photographs while in the museum;
they were expressly allowed in one particular exhibit.
Most of the images that inspired me to photograph them involved nature, the outdoors.
Mind you, I love portraits. Of people. Love.

However, two artists had captured ocean scenes so perfectly,
I had to photograph them so I could learn more about their work.

This* is "A Quiet Day in Manchester" by Alfred Thompson Bricher (1837-1908)**

I read about Mr. Bricher, and he lived much of his life by the ocean; not surprising.
This next one is "The Stranded Ship" by Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886).

The green in these waves? So true and real. Awesome. I just stare at it.

The pull of the Pacific

When in the NPS, one of my jobs, and its associated walking commute,
allowed me to see the Pacific Ocean four hours a day, five days a week.

The first birds I had to identify as a professional biologist were shorebirds.

The first natural resource monitoring I did was of the rocky intertidal community.

I was born in a beach town.

I still remember walking on the beach with my dad when I was four,
plastic baggy in hand to store all the shells I'd collect.

So, I feel bonded to that big, cold, powerful thing.

Which might explain why, when these painters really captured the ocean,
it stopped me in my tracks.

Love at first sight

Back at the gallery, I turn a corner and BAM,
there is one of my favorite paintings of all time.
I was instantly smitten the moment I saw it (in a book in high school).
And it's never diminished.

I had no idea it was at the NGA.

To direct you to it (since it's still under copyright, via another site),
I had to look up its name (just now, after writing about the Pacific),
which I had not known at all.

"Wind from the sea."


that's freaky.

You can see it here (and click on it to see it larger).

Art is everywhere

Then, leaving the NGA, stepping out the doorway, I see this:

The beauty doesn't stop when you leave the gallery, and step into nature.


It just keeps going.
Hence my giddy, swoony, continuing love for nature.
It's fairly magical, always inspiring,
and, like so many of the amazing DC museums, it's free.


*I did not straighten this photograph (via post-processing) because that'd reduce the clarity a lot.
**Public domain = 100 years after artist's death (says Wiki),
so these seascapes sail in that marvelous legal sharing space. =)


  1. I also can't believe how much I enjoy nature. Unfortunately, I never "got it" that it would be a great career. I am ever envious of folks that understood their love of the outdoors and now spend their days in parks doing cool as he#$ things like observe wildlife.....and get PAID to do it. I could smack myself.............

  2. Art is beautiful, especially when they are rendered with such fine technique. So many of the late 1800 to early 1900 classics are based on the appreciation of nature. I am glad you posted a link to respect copyright, rather than steal an online image in your post. Hope your are (or have had) fun in your travels, bb!

  3. Thanks for the direction to the Andrew Wyeth site. I didn't know Wind from the Sea --- it's stunning.

  4. =) @ Katie: I agree re: late 1800 to early 1900--SO wonderful. Thanks for the copyright props. Don't want to do wrong to an artist whom I think is amazing (e.g., Andrew Wyeth). =)

    @Sue: Yes, one doesn't always know of all the options. You can still, however, volunteer if there's a park or some such place, to help with field work, etc. That's how many people learn if they really do like the actual work, and it's a toe in the door to a new hobby or even career. In the NPS we had many amazing volunteers who had other day jobs, or retired from them, who contributed mightily to our program. Buncha smarties!

    @Snail: I'm so glad you got to see it and you like it too. It's so simple but never fails to make me swoon. =)


Cool people write inside rectangles....