Nature Nuggets

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Deep within a cave in Indonesia lies the oldest-known animal artwork in the world. It depicts an animal that you’ve probably seen, and so did these artists 45,500 years ago! Watch this video to find out!

Our lives are deeply interlinked with nature. It is no wonder that this connection is reflected in the arts—from folk tales and dance forms to literary works to paintings. Through the ages, fine art such as paintings have not only captured the beauty of the natural world, but have, in the process, helped make scientific observations of species and record landscapes that are now much changed or gone. But more importantly, nature-inspired art has the power to move us, make us think, and spark important conversations about our place in nature and our impact on its many interconnections.

Step aboard as we embark on an artsy Nature Nuggets expedition and explore art that captures nature’s wonders from around the world.

Nature-inspired art worldwide

Some art styles from around the world use unique techniques to depict natural landscapes. The Japanese ink-painting style called sumi-e uses minimal brushstrokes and colours to focus nature’s beauty in its barest form. Chinese shan shui, a more intricate centuries-old technique, portrays natural forms and spaces through delicate lines and strokes.

Shan shui art generally uses brush and ink.

The plein-air painters of Europe propped up their canvases in breathtaking sites to more accurately capture the strokes of nature.

Take a look at these iconic nature paintings by renowned masters Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, and others!

Plein-air art by John Constable

Nature in Indian art

Nature’s motifs have made their way into several Indian folk-art styles, reflecting themes such as strength, protection, and our profound connection with the natural world.

Gond art: The Gond community of Madhya Pradesh believe that paintings are an offering to nature.

The Gonds paint their walls with vibrant images of the Mahua tree, peacocks, tigers, and other natural symbols.

Pattachitra art: The Pattachitra painting style from Odisha and Bengal is done on cloth-based scrolls. The paintings often depict mythological stories and folklore. Rivers are seen as a source of life in these communities, making water bodies and aquatic animals a common theme.

The detailed brushstrokes in Pattachitra paintings capture the intricacies of nature.

Warli art: The Warli style from Maharashtra uses distinctive lines and shapes to portray the connection between humans and nature.

Madhubani art: Bihar’s Madhubani art, while featuring nature on the canvas, uses natural dyes and pigments too!

A tiger in the Madhubani art style

Get artsy!

You don’t have to be an expert to give nature-themed art a go. Try you hand at nature-themed art at home.

  • Watch this video and try your hand at Gond art.
  • Draw birds and other animals in the style of Warli art with this tutorial.
  • Practice the Madhubani style with this video.

Art can be a powerful medium to convey the value of nature in our lives. Make your own nature-themed artwork and share it on social media with the hashtags #OnePlanetAcademy and #MyArtsyNugget. Don’t forget to tag us – Environment Education with WWF India!

Common Name: Satin bowerbird

Scientific Name: Ptilonorhynchus violaceus

Some birds are singers. Some are dancers. And some…are artists!

Meet the male satin bowerbirds from Australia! With glossy blueish black feathers and bright violet eyes, this species has a love for all things blue! When it’s time for the male bowerbird to find a mate, it constructs an elaborate nest (or ‘bower’).

To showcase its own blueish tints, the bowerbird collects bright blue objects like bottle caps and straws which are then used to decorate the sunny side of the nest. This makes the bower brighter and more attractive to the females. Watch the bowerbird in action here.

Time to check your Nature Quotient!


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