Perils of the Sea, 1888
Showing fisherwomen braced against a biting wind, Winslow Homer's Perils of the Sea provides a glimpse of the small English fishing colony of Cullercoats, where the artist lived for 20 months beginning in 1881. The etching follows in reverse the subject and composition of a watercolor the artist created during his stay there years earlier. Inspired by the community's resilience against nature's wrath, Homer conveyed his respect for the fisherwomen by rendering their forms as sculptural, almost monumental and integrated tightly with the group behind them. Translating the chromatic effects of watercolor into black-and-white, the artist executed finely hatched and cross-hatched lines to evoke dynamic, extreme weather.
Arthur Garfield Dove
American – 1934
Oil on canvas
'Arthur Dove's Tree suggests the restless energy and restorative powers of nature. Comprised of undulating, organic forms and an earthy palette of browns and tans, the painting features a large tree limb stretching across the composition and silhouetted against paler, flamelike shapes. These integrated forms suggest the strong, interconnected elements of nature. The composition's horizontality links the painting discreetly to the traditional landscape painting.
Rooting his art deeply in the natural world, Dove was a pioneer in abstraction. He created his earliest abstract compositions in the 1910s, and his efforts were supported by New York-based photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz. A major proponent of modernism in America, Stieglitz also promoted the work of Georgia O'Keeffe and Marsden Hartley, among others.'
The Artist’s Evening Song
Oh, for some inner creative force
Through my mind, echoing!
That through my hands might course
A sap-filled blossoming.
I only shudder, I only stutter,
And yet can’t halt: at last,
I feel I know you, Nature,
And must hold you fast.
When I think how all these years
My powers have been growing,
And where barren heath appeared
Now streams of joy are flowing:
How I yearn for you, Nature, then,
And long for you, with faith and love!
For me you’ll be the leaping fountain,
A thousand springs will hurl above.
And every single power
In my mind you’ll heighten,
And this narrow being-here
To Eternity you’ll widen.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Dell at Helmingham Park
John Constable’s personal vision and immediate encounters with nature shaped his landscape paintings. This approach links him to a central tenant of Romanticism. While earlier British artists aspired to represent an idealized view of an imagined landscape, Constable strove to capture the local scenery of his native Suffolk, England.
Constable's intimate vision, as exemplified by this work, was characteristic of the newly intensified attitude toward nature adopted by the Romantic movement. He first visited this dell in 1800, when he wrote to a friend, "Here I am quite alone among the oaks and solitude of Helmingham Park… there are abundance of fine trees of all sorts." He visited once more in 1814, but this is a late work of memory. Constable enhances the rustic atmosphere by including a foreground cow and, in the distance, a stag and red deer. His technique is loose and free, making his trees appear as though they are sighing and swaying in the wind.
by A. B. Banjo Paterson
‘Twas the dingo pup to his dam that said,
“It’s time I worked for my daily bread.
Out in the world I intend to go,
And you’d be surprised at the things I know.
“There’s a wild duck’s nest in a sheltered spot,
And I’ll go right down and I’ll eat the lot.”
But when he got to his destined prey
He found that the ducks had flown away.
But an egg was left that would quench his thirst,
So he bit the egg and it straightway burst.
It burst with a bang, and he turned and fled,
For he thought that the egg had shot him dead.
“Oh, mother,” he said, “let us clear right out
Or we’ll lose our lives with the bombs about;
And it’s lucky I am that I’m not blown up –
It’s a very hard life,” said the dingo pup.
“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” — Wendell Berry
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.