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Nature As Art

By: Carolina Ramirez Herrera

Throughout time, artists have used nature as a muse or motivation for creating different art forms. Nature’s colors, textures, creatures and landscapes have, without fail, captured the imagination of those in its presence. Materials from our earth, such as wood, charcoal, clay, graphite and water, have served as important tools for creation, demonstrating the natural world’s generosity through our artistic endeavors.

At our Home in Namibia, we seek to nurture our creative selves through the beauty of nature, journeying into a wild landscape where moments of intrigue, surprise and inspiration await around every corner. In July 2022, the opportunity arose to host a one-of-a-kind immersive artist retreat inspired by the Namibian savanna and led by South African artist Marié Stander. Known for her figurative works in multiple media, Marié is a master of her craft with the unique ability to unearth the simmering talent within students of all different levels and capabilities. From art enthusiasts to well-versed professionals, eight participants joined her for five days of connection, art, and nature.

Driven by a passion for telling people’s stories through visual imagery, Marié feels most nourished when sharing her talent with others and creating alongside like-minded souls. Growing up with seven siblings in the picturesque town of George on South Africa’s famous Garden Route, Marié’s parents instilled a profound appreciation for books, nature, and art, especially drawing, which she considers her first love. 

Over the years, Marié’s work has distinguished itself with an ability to transcend the human form and capture raw emotion with effortless fluidity that brings an entire story to life. While studying Fine Arts at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, she found herself immersed in painting. The formal training from university gave her the technical ability to move across media, but eventually, she found herself returning to her first love of drawing while gravitating towards the use of charcoal. Marié explains, “I have always been a very tactile person, and the tactility of charcoal just worked perfectly for me and my style. In drawing with charcoal, I get to work with my hands and fingers. Moreover, I am obsessed with the atmospheric quality of light and dark, and the medium of charcoal creates that for me.”

 

Many artists typically have well-lit studios with easels and a surplus of materials at their disposal. However, Marié’s retreat looked to provide just the opposite. Mediums such as charcoal and natural pigments invited participants to get their hands dirty, feel connected and dive head-first into the creation process. The stripped-back surroundings, stillness and essential materials were all factors that contributed to deeply authentic work. In an attempt to create a more profound feeling of immersion and nourishment of the soul, the retreat itinerary was holistically designed to include daily game drives, guided bush walks, morning yoga, and bush meditations, all of which allowed creativity to flow in from many forms. 

A simple goal underpinned the retreat: teach attendees to work with the intuitive right side of their brains while at the same time giving enough tools to create beautiful drawings inspired by the local people, wildlife, and surrounding nature. For Marié, it comes down to being able to create and share in the name of creating. As she sees it, “Children and adults need an outlet to express themselves, and art is a beautiful way of doing that.” 

At our Home in Namibia, we are committed to providing a space for creativity and self-expression where the imagination can run wild and free. Through collaborations with creatives like Marié Stander, we hope to cultivate a profound love and appreciation for nature while inspiring our deepest forms of self-expression. 

Edited By: Evan Upchurch

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