About the Painting
“Mother Nature” is part of the “Secrets of Nature” series, where I try and highlight the importance of mankind living with and being a part of nature. Humanity is too keen to try and control nature and make it ordered, hedges are cut and shaped into topiary, lawns are mown, weeds and pests are “treated” and killed. Mankind cannot and will never be able to control nature, we are merely a tiny cog in a much larger wheel. Humanity are animals, they are part of the food chain, and even though technology may have made us top predator we are not infallible to disease and famine. When a population grows too big it is controlled by a predator, as we don’t have one ours will be controlled by disease and famine.
Sadly, due to the success of homo sapiens and colonisation of the world, we have pushed the boundaries between our homes and nature. There are very few wild places left, it is this which helps viruses to jump the species barrier and puts us at most threat. This painting is looking back to a time where humans used to worship and respect nature, because it could cause feast and famine. Education and science mean we no longer worship mother nature. I am not advocating that we should make sacrifices to a deity, however, I think we should return to our ancestry and learn about how they respected nature and their surroundings. We need to respect the landscape around us and learn to live with it. Do we need to build on green belt? Even though it is more costly for the builders, should we not clean the existing land and build on brown belt? A hundred year old Oak tree cannot be replaced with a sapling; by cutting down a tree you are losing an entire ecosystem and all the bacteria, fungi, microscopic organisms, insects, birds and mammals it supports - it is not just one plant. Until humanity learns to appreciate and respect nature around them, consider their actions and truly care for the weeds, trees and creatures however small, climate change will remain a threat. Sadly, climate change will cause the extinction of many species, including, plant, insect and mammal. Humanity is just as vulnerable to extinction as any other species. By preserving the ecosystem and diversity around us we will be preventing our own extinction.
“Mother Nature” is weaving the human form into the flowers and nature around it, this person is a part of nature and not cleansing themselves from it. If you try and live seasonally and work with nature, you earn more respect for it. Each organism has its role and needs to be treasured because they make up the ecosystem as a whole.
“Mother Nature” was started at the beginning of the first UK Covid lockdown, so the model I used and had access to, was myself and those who know me will recognise the likeness. I am loathed to call it a self-portrait, as this was not my intention. Its purpose was to be a female figure looking back to a time when “Mother Nature” was revered, and it is a symbol to show this. The female face is intertwined with the flowers and natural patterns that surround it in the darkness and is meant to reflect the ideas above.
Many of the smaller plants are imaginary and are inspired by my walks into the West Sussex countryside where my art studio is based. The hedgerows and banks of grasses are not just one species, but full of the meandering bramble and goose grass that snag at you whilst you walk. If you pause and look, you will see tiny flowers from scarlet pimpernels and germander speedwell that are smaller than my smallest fingernail, each of which have purpose and role within the ecosystem around them.