Feel nature’s beauty to boost wellbeing

Beauty is a feeling

Before we start, I’m not talking here about anti-ageing creams, make-up, or even clothes.  This is not about feeling you look beautiful to others. 

However…it’s possible that if you make space to feel beauty more often, you might just give off a glow of calm confidence that others find beautiful. 

 

What do I mean by ‘feeling beauty’?

Let’s take a look at something you know for yourself: contemplating things you find beautiful makes you feel good. The beauty seems to be in the flower, the bird, the sunset. 

But really it’s YOU having the feeling of beauty. 

Scientific research shows us that ‘the experience of beauty is a feeling of pleasure. As one increases, so does the other.’ Neuroscience has found that experiencing beauty increases activity in the orbitofrontal cortex; one of the brain’s “pleasure centres”.

That makes sense to me. Beauty is a feeling I’m hooked on. I even moved to live in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. I paint the beauty of nature as much as I can. It’s cultivated in me a feeling of connection with nature too. It’s restorative and energising to me. It sparks wonder, creativity, aliveness, and a sense of connection to the world around me. 

I'm hooked on feeling nature's beauty
Honey, my beautiful newly adopted dog

Nature as a key source of beauty

For me it’s nature subjects that consistently lead me to feel beauty. This seems to be an almost universal experience. Why is that?  

Getting on for 200 years ago, in 1836, philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that we find nature beautiful because it’s alive, moving, and reproductive. In contrast with the static, deteriorating state of most things that are man-made, in nature we can observe growth and development in living things.

This certainly rings true in my view. But I also think there’s another, even deeper reason we find beauty in nature, and it’s something easily forgotten in today’s technology-filled, fast-paced, developed world. 

Humans have found ways to fly to the moon. We’ve created mega structures, developed societies, built computers and even learned to manipulate nature to breed plants and animals. 

But the one thing we didn’t make was nature. Quite the opposite is true: nature made us. 

And no matter what advancements we make, there’s no getting away from the fact that we are primates. We are a part of nature: not something separate from it. When we feel nature’s beauty, the experience not only strengthens our connection with nature, but it also brings us back to ourselves.

When we have a ‘nature moment’, and are almost overwhelmed by the beauty we feel, it might be because it’s a needed reminder that we’re part of an interconnected system that’s so much bigger than us. 

Spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle describes appreciation of the beauty of flowers like this in his book ‘A New Earth’:

Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature.

There’s been a great deal of research over the last 20 years to demonstrate that connectedness with nature is associated with greater psychological well-being. I looked at some key pieces in another post here

But if we want to feel the full well-being benefits from nature connection, it turns out there’s another factor that comes into play.

 

Consciously appreciating nature’s beauty

In a research paper, scientists Zhang, Howell and Iyer (2014) showed that the tendency to engage with natural beauty moderates the positive relation between nature connectedness and well-being (i.e., life satisfaction and self-esteem). So, people who were more emotionally attuned to natural beauty (i.e., those who perceive nature’s beauty) seem to reap the most positive benefits from being connected with nature. 

They speculated that one reason ‘why people who are connected with nature and perceive nature’s beauty report greater well-being, is because they are more likely to experience a sense of awe and wonder from the natural world.’ 

They concluded: ‘We should not only encourage individuals to develop a sense of connection with nature but also encourage them to become attuned to nature’s beauty in order to improve their personal well-being.’

Experiencing positive emotions such as awe and wonder matters. 

So how exactly does a series of seemingly fleeting blissful moments enhance our wellbeing in the long term?

Leading Neuroscientist Rick Hanson explains in his book ‘Hardwiring Happiness’ that intense, prolonged or repeated experiences lead to physical changes in our brain. It’s a phenomenon known as ‘neuroplasticity’ which I explored in more depth in another post

What it means is that repeated exposure to the positive experience of feeling nature’s beauty creates lasting physical changes in our brain that positively affect our day-to-day mental state.

In other words, if you make a habit of regularly taking even just a little time to consciously appreciate nature’s beauty, those positive feelings will eventually become ‘hardwired’ into your brain.

That feeling of awe and wonder sparked by nature’s beauty will become part of you.

You’ll be in the best possible position to feel the long term wellbeing benefits of cultivating a deep connection with nature. And these hardwired positive feelings inevitably mean your connections with other people will benefit too. 

One of my ways of appreciating and honouring nature’s beauty is to closely observe every detail that I can see in a subject, and then recreate it in watercolour. It enables me to prolong what starts as a moment of awe and wonder into several hours of intense appreciation for the subject.

Once I’ve finished that painting and got to know the subject intimately, it somehow becomes part of me.

And doing this always, always brings me back to myself.

Do you feel the same after painting a natural subject? I’d love to know what your experiences of this have been. 

Do you regularly feel beauty in nature? Can you recall a particular moment when you felt completely overcome by feeling nature’s beauty? If so, did you use that experience as creative inspiration to produce artwork? Please leave a comment below and let’s have a conversation.

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55 Comments

  1. Kim on August 10, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    Love it, Anna. This morning I noticed how a sweet little hummingbird continued to return to a tiny branch that overhangs a beautiful yard. I thought about what a beautiful overlook it must be from up there.

    Taking time to pause and savor the beauty around us is refreshing and replenishing.

    Thanks for encouraging us to pause. Selah!

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 8:46 pm

      Ahh what a lovely scene Kim- hummers are a joy to watch. I wish we had them here. Thanks for sharing.

    • Savita on August 15, 2022 at 10:01 am

      So nice Anna.I too love nature and like to view all the beautiful scenery even from my gallery,out scene in rainy season,fog in winter and so so many wanders in nature.I am botanist ,but I like painting.
      It’s because of you Anna I started to develop intrest in painting

  2. Mary on August 10, 2022 at 4:01 pm

    Good Morning Anna and thank you for sharing. I love being out in nature and feel blessed to live on the Oregon coast. I love walking on the beach in the AM. It is so beautiful to see the waves crashing on shore, gulls flying, sandpipers running back and forth, pelicans flying in formation and smelling the sea air. Relaxation and inspiration.

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 8:47 pm

      I visited the Oregon coast once Mary and your description really brought it back to mind. I remember seeing whales out to sea- spotting their water spouts. What a fantastic place to live.

  3. Lorna Riley on August 10, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    Thank you for this Anna! I love your style of painting that allows us to have an intimate relationship with nature. I love the time with the infinite colors of seemingly simple objects holding a universe of details. When my succulents stress from not getting enough water, their colors become more vibrant. Some of the plants can sit out of the soil. They just root where they land. They don’t have a lick of quit in them! What a lovely reminder to keep going, especially in our paintings, no matter what difficulties come our way.

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 8:48 pm

      Plants can teach us so much! Lovely comment Lorna, thank you.

  4. Kathie Houchens on August 10, 2022 at 4:52 pm

    LOVE this! Your research to back up what we intuitively know is icing on the cake. My take-away today is: “repeated exposure to the positive experience of feeling nature’s beauty creates lasting physical changes in our brain that positively affect our day-to-day mental state.

    In other words, if you make a habit of regularly taking even just a little time to consciously appreciate nature’s beauty, those positive feelings will eventually become ‘hardwired’ into your brain.

    That feeling of awe and wonder sparked by nature’s beauty will become part of you.”
    Yes, yes, and YES! Thank you, Anna, for your part in helping this happen.

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 8:49 pm

      I’m so pleased the post resonated, thanks Kathie!

  5. Cassandra on August 10, 2022 at 5:05 pm

    Yes to all! My grandkids are now trained, “Grandma, there is a flower. Do you want to take a picture?” Full moons rising bright and beautiful or setting behind snow capped peaks. Sunrises, sunsets. Last week I had to go into town to get a windshield. Five mile walk through town and I have sooo many flower pictures captured that I will be busy painting until next summer. Stopping to enjoy the smells, the colors, the shapes—nature never ceases to amaze me. Nature journaling is also fun but I am still too nervous whipping my sketchbook out in public. I am getting better each time I do it, but so nervous that I talk myself out of it more times than not!

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 8:50 pm

      I love hearing how inspired you’re feeling! We have a nature journaling course coming which may just help you get started with that too – if you have time!

  6. Margareth on August 10, 2022 at 5:05 pm

    Hello Anna,

    Your email was the first one I opened up this morning. What a Beautiful message to start my beautiful day. Just yesterday, my awesome friend Liz, came to my place for a “ watercolor “ paint day. She is new to watercolor and me being an art instructor that loves to bring the Joy of Art to people, was honored to give her the best watercolor journey start experience. Our subject – Flowers.

    We had conversations about the beauty of nature the entire time. With each petal stroke was an ah ha moment. Then reading your message of nature’s beauty today was magical.

    It is with attitude and gratitude that I embrace nature’s beauty each day.

    Thank you Anna for this beautiful message!

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 8:51 pm

      What a lovely day: sharing beauty with a friend like that is the very best!

  7. Linda Cantwell on August 10, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    Yes yes nature is my favorite place to be, prograph and paint. Sitting in nature for prayer and meditation often brings me to tears of joy and healing. Your books and paintings have been such a gift of knowledge and inspiration to me. Thank you for teaching us all.

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 8:53 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience Linda, we’re clearly kindred spirits.

  8. Jan Smith on August 10, 2022 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Anna..thank you for all you do for our school and all your words of wisdom. I don’t have the luxury of a beautiful flower garden as I live in a second floor condo building. However, what I do have is the luxury of being backed up to the woods with beautiful trees and all kinds of critters running about including deer, squirrels and beautiful birds. The best thing I have is a couple of hummingbirds who come right up to the feeder on my balcony. I get such joy watching them and all the other beauties of nature that surround me. Thank you for bringing all of this to my attention.

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 8:54 pm

      There’s something so magical about hummingbirds. I’m delighted for you that they come to your balcony- such a treat!

  9. Linda Gilvear on August 10, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    What a perfect time to read your inspiring words. I’m sitting on the patio reveling at the beauty of desert plants after several nights of monsoon rains. What was a garden of sparce, pale flowers and dull green cacti and bushes is now alive with new, bright blooms and scores of buds surrounded by a plethora of green desert plants in every shade imaginable. It’s as if every flower and plant were nudged from a lethargic half-sleep by drinking in the summer’s rain. And, as I read your words I realized what I was missing in my watercoloring. I admire so many things in nature and take many pictures but, I do all my work inside. It literally hit me like a lightening bolt – I need to sketch ( the best I can) outside looking at and being with my models rather than inside looking at a picture. I need to “drink in” nature, as do my plants and flowers. And, heat permitting,, I will from this day forth. spend more time painting outside. This is the inspiration I have been lacking and didn’t know it until this morning. It’s a beautiful, cool morning here in Tucson, Arizona and as soon as I hit “send” on this email I will take my sketch pad and number H pencil into the garden and get “Up close and personal” with my flowers and plants. I think I’m about to begin a new and much needed part of my watercolor journey. Thank you Anna..

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 8:58 pm

      I loved reading your comment Linda. I hope the sketchbook experience was positive. I find I need a somewhat different approach outside- I have to be less exacting in my style. But I do find the outside experience really rewarding when the weather permits. I feel very drawn to visit the desert of Arizona, and your description has added to that. Hopefully one day! In the meantime I’ll have to find a good descriptive novel set there.

  10. Dorothy on August 10, 2022 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you Anna for sharing all of these beautiful thoughts. I taught creative mindful journaling, yoga and stress management for years and Yes neuroplasticity and positive exposures like nature are huge game changers for us. I believe Katie above mentioned small changes. Many small changes lead to big experiences. Many of my students loved to do “walking meditations.” Then come home and journal about them and add artwork and painting to more vividly express beauty, feelings and emotions. It is a wonderful way to reduce stress and activate those “happy hormones.” I know it always works for me to discover the beauty of developing the ability to put your “feelings” onto watercolor paper and watch the magic grow. Thank you again

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience Dorothy, you have a wealth of relevant experience on this subject. I love the idea of the students painting about their walks.

  11. Caroline Pomahac on August 10, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    Hi Anna. What a timely post. With so much negativity in the world, it’s good to get a reminder of what is really important. I have always found solace in my garden, getting down and (literally) dirty with the plants and insects. Learning to paint has made me much more observant of the details and that makes everything more special. It also helps that am blessed to live in an incredibly beautiful part of the world – on a small island on the west coast of Canada.. Mary, I have also walked the beautiful beaches of the Oregon coast and can relate to your experience. Thank you Anna!

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 9:01 pm

      Oh the west coast of Canada is so beautiful, thanks for leaving a comment Caroline and I loved hearing about your love of gardening.

  12. Manali Mehta on August 10, 2022 at 5:40 pm

    So true, Anna:) I have experienced many beautiful moments soaked in nature and have felt an abundant sense of peace and healing. Be it watching the birds feeding at my window, the fluttering butterfly, the delicate sunbirds sucking nectar, the cool breeze blowing against my face, the rustling leaves as the wind passes by, the sweet chirpings of birds, the smell of rain and the list goes on. I live in the city with not much of nature here but I have been blessed to visit many places in my country and around the world which are abundant in nature’s beauty.
    Also, I have my little garden which I like to observe closely. I’ll share one such incident.

    I have three ixora plants in my balcony – yellow, orange and pink. Once 2-3 flowers in the bunch of yellow flowers were orange in colour and I was surprised … wondering ‘HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?’ Although, I don’t know for sure but I think it could be due to cross-pollination by the sunbirds who keep pecking on the flowers. I don’t know if it could modify genes.
    I like your idea of observing things closely and journaling nature. I think that allows us to remember the experience and make more sense of our observations in nature. It’s one of the best ways to ‘GROW THROUGH life and not just ‘GO THROUGH’ life. Thank you for this lovely post!

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 9:03 pm

      Thanks for your wonderful comment- I loved reading about the flowers in your garden. I’m so happy for you that you notice all these details in the nature around you.

  13. Stephen L on August 10, 2022 at 5:47 pm

    100% agreed, Anna. When I spend the time to really take in the outdoors on my property, it brings me perspective and the anxieties of life seem to diminish proportionally. This is a terrific reminder to do it more mindfully, more frequently—and a gift from the universe. Your art is stunning, thank you for sharing your wisdom too’

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks for your comment Stephen. If the blog helps you to really take in the nature around you a little more often, that makes me so happy.

    • Leti on August 11, 2022 at 1:35 pm

      Thank you for sharing one of my most favorite things to do. I live-in FL and have a potted flowering plants along my front door way. It’s beautiful and peaceful. Everyone who approaches compliments the view and all the flowers.

      I love nature and digging into the earth to plant more flowers. My dream is to have flowers all around my home. From my orchids to bulbs and vines.

      I love your work and your encouragement.

      Love,
      Leti

  14. Carol Wood on August 10, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    Nature…the beauty and wonders of it…is a spiritual experience for me. I see and feel God and marvel at his handiwork and I can never get enough of it. Bring on the birds, the flowers, the mountains, the lakes and the valleys…I love it all! 😊

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 9:06 pm

      Yey Carol! 🙂

  15. Angela patricia Bonilla trillos on August 10, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    Gracias por el bello mensaje, es lindo saber que el arte nos lleva a conocer la hermosa naturaleza y poderla plasmar. Me fascina como pinta y estoy contenta de seguirla , la felicito por su trabajo, tengo que poner traductor ya que no se mucho de inglés jeje; gracias, gracias y un abrazo

  16. Danielle Deschamps on August 10, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    This is so true Anna!

    I moved from a suburban village North of Montreal Quebec in 1995 to beautiful British-Columbia
    And every morning when I go to work I see the mountains scenery with the abundant nature but what bring the awe and wonders is when I see this majestic Mount Baker Volcano covered with snow when it’s 30 degree down here!
    It’s like a big sundae!
    The birds, all the animals the ocean with a sunset or sunrise with a delicate breeze brings wonders and awe to my heart it’s a good feeling and contentement.
    I appreciate nature beautiful flowers 🌸 and when I have a moment I love to put it on my watercolour paper and paint them and in the process that wonders and awe continue until the completion of my painting and more…it’s a feeling of well being
    Thank you Anna for sharing your thoughts,knowledge and to teach your beautiful painting with a high level of skills 🤗

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 9:08 pm

      Thanks Danielle for your lovely comment. That move you made sounds like it was a really good one! It’s just priceless to have views like that around you all the time. I feel it where I live: it enriches life so much.

  17. Sue Wright on August 10, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    I totally agree about the beauty in nature. My favourite scenes to paint are always landscapes. I use all mediums except oils.

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 9:08 pm

      I used to paint landscapes as a youth and I would love to get back to that sometime. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Carol J Ward on August 10, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Anna,
    Thank you for taking the time have us read and comment on this beautiful post. I personally am going through some depressing times with my husband and his alzheimer’s disease. It’s been 5 years of caregiving and now he is in a facility where he calls constantly to be picked up. I have your books and have been a members for several years and I know paining in the moments, especially flowers is like a meditation to me. My best thing is to put on some spa music and paint to escape; but times like this, I cant even do that. But just thinking and writing about it has helped me, my favorite is hydrangeas. Thank you for caring. Love from Newport, Rhode Island.

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 9:11 pm

      Carol, my heart goes out to you. What a painful time you are having. I do hope that things improve in some way soon. Be very kind to yourself, you’re going though so much. And know painting will be there the moment you feel up to it. That day will come x

  19. Norma E on August 10, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    This is a beautiful post and you are 100% correct Anna. Connecting with nature is so important and when I
    don’t do enough of this I feel it. Every few weeks I get an overwhelming feeling, a desperate urge to go to
    the park, to look at flowers (anywhere), to go to the beach and feel the wind in my face, hear the waves,
    smell the salty water and feel the sand. Nature engages all our senses. I never feel more alive than when I’m
    connecting with nature. And at night when another world comes alive in the woods behind me, the sounds
    of frogs and crickets creates the most beautiful chorus on the planet. Nature is the best medicine for the soul.

    • Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 9:16 pm

      Thanks for your great comment Norma. I’m pleased to hear how in touch you are with that urge to be with nature. I suspect we all have a version of that and that many people just aren’t consciously aware of it. I have a friend who recently spent time living with a tribe in the Amazon rainforest and when he came back home to the city he lives in, he commented that he felt that we’re all in some way grieving the constant connection with nature that our ancestors would have had. But most of people aren’t aware of it: though so many do experience great dissatisfaction in their lives… An interesting idea.

  20. Susanne Wendt on August 10, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    Thank you Anna, A lovely post.🌹Thank you for taking the time to write and share with us.
    We have many little Silver eyes and Fantails in our garden, not to mention our nativeTui.. I love watching them, especially the Silver eyes as they flit around in the Bottlebrush Bush outside our kitchen window.. It’s very easy to get lost in time watching them. Nature is so bountiful with all there is for us to enjoy. I love looking at flowers and scenery too, and find that losing myself in painting nature is so therapeutic.. Blessings on you and yours❤

    • Martha Simmons on August 10, 2022 at 11:31 pm

      Dear sweet Anna,
      Thanks for sharing. I am fascinated by the blue flowers. Are they poppies? Tell me a little about them.
      My love of nature comes from being out there in it. I am attuned to the colors, the sounds I hear, the smells I smell. Every sense is on high alert. When I am out there is when I speak with my Creator. I thank God for the gifts He has given me to enjoy in nature. Can you imagine what it was like before He used his mighty brush to create all this beauty He has given us? Every day I find a new joy out there to enjoy!!

  21. Anna Mason on August 10, 2022 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks for your comment Susanne. I looked up the birds you mentioned as I don’t know the names- it’s great to be shown something new. So pleased you are enjoying nature connection so often.

  22. Judy on August 10, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    Hi Anna your very insightful article reminded me of a time when I started to become interested in painting and remember looking at leaves, especially on National Trust outings, the different hues of green, yellow, blue, red, orange, browns. The shapes, sizes, patterns, symmetry etc. I remember thinking how many types of leaves and greenery are there? Some bushes and trees looked like they’d come from outer space! I think green must be nature’s favourite colour as we are surrounded by it. Thank you for evoking this memory.

  23. Melissa on August 10, 2022 at 10:36 pm

    Hi Anna, I just love your emails and all that you do. I have not had the time to sit and begin my watercolour journey but you inspire me to look forward to my quieter years. I live in North Queensland in Australia and every day when I drive my children to and from school we are surrounded by beauty and we get to appreciate it even without walking or stopping, it is a joy we share daily. I haven’t started any of your lessons yet so I hope you continue to do what you do long into the future. Thank you for your impact in my life and in creating my beautiful daydreams.

  24. Anne Bradley on August 10, 2022 at 10:39 pm

    Hello Anna:

    You and fellow artists might be interested in finding beauty with Forest-Bathing and Forest Therapy. Information about these subjects can be found on You Tube. There are also books available (search Google) on the subject.

    I live in the city and am desparate to be near trees, ferns, wildflowers, moss and mushrooms. Birdsong does not exist here so I am really looking forward to treating myself to the woods!

  25. Brenda Cohen on August 10, 2022 at 11:20 pm

    Hi Anna
    I am really enjoying the course and painting with you. I live in Sydney so there’s beauty all around in nature. I have a large patio with pot plants which I enjoy. I had a cataract operation a week ago so have had to refrain from gardening. However this morning I noticed several of my plants started flowering. I thought they had died.
    Today I will attempt the luscious tomato and hope it will look as good as yours does.

  26. Nancy Dann on August 10, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    I have a high concentration of flowers outside my front door. ever spring and summer I have two hanging baskets, potted flowers of all different colors and sizes and flower beds flanking my steps. It’s a lot of work to keep them watered and looking their best, but it brings me great joy to see them in full bloom. As I walked out onto my porch today, a beautiful red and blue hummingbird flew right up to me… maybe one foot away from me and it was exhilarating to come face to face with the tiny creature. I am currently working on the Sweet Peas tutorial and each time I paint, I hit a point where I feel it will never turn out right. But I realize it’s a process. I need to trust it and it will work out. There’s a lot of focus on tiny details and I think that’s what appeals to me the most. I may be looking at photos and Anna’s paintings, but I am learning more about nature and myself with a little hummingbird visit as a bonus!

  27. Padma sharma on August 11, 2022 at 4:55 am

    Hi Anna, I feel so connected with your blog because I too just love nature and am overwhelmed by it every time I come across nature in its varied forms. I had recently been to Canada and the beauty of the places I visited where nature is bountiful and beautiful that I thought if there is a heaven this must be how it looked. I was sooo affected by the beauty of nature that I wanted to just die. I had a similar experience when I went to Netherlands and visited the Tulip gardens – breathtaking beauty. I maintain some pots with green plants and seasonal flowers just outside my door (as I do not have the luxury of a garden) but it is enough to give me a sense of calm and happiness every morning when I take a walk around it and feel satisfied. That is why I like to paint flowers and birds.

  28. Joyce Love on August 11, 2022 at 6:23 am

    Anna, Your blog is so lovely and inspiring.. It’s wonderful to acknowledge the connection between nature and art. I’ve always loved painting landscapes and flowers. My camera always comes with me on walks through gardens or trips to lakes and mountains. Your blogs and the opportunities that your school creates are wonderful. This month’s art challenge has numerous suggested subjects. The participation is from students of yours around the world. Many have provided interesting tidbits about their paintings. I’ve always been fascinated by the lightning bugs (fireflies) that appear flashing in the sky during July in the USA. However, it has been interesting to learn about the firefly festival that one artist is hoping to attend in India next year, and the glow worms that populate parts of the UK and New Zealand. Brazil is also home to fireflies. Something as simple as a flashing insect or glowing worm can be an incredible experience if you only look for it and think about the wonder of how it developed into that. There were some paintings of sunsets and northern lights also. So don’t overlook the nature that occurs after dark. If some of your students have steered clear of the ‘monthly challenges’ they really should check them out this month. Hummingbirds are the fascinating daytime version of nighttime fireflies in the sky and glow worms in the hedgerows. Thanks Anna for your reminder to look around us. It’s nice to know it’s a good thing!

  29. Vicky King on August 11, 2022 at 10:41 am

    Hi Anna, Yours was the first email I saw this morning and after having read it and seeing all the other comments. I had a good long think about what I love the most about nature. Having travelled extensively a lot with my husbands job living overseas in the far east, middle east and the North Atlantic I think for me it was always the point where we flew over the UK and there in front of me was the beautiful patchwork quilt of the countryside with its various rich greens, yellows and blues. I then knew I was home and how lucky I was to experience the beauty of our emerald green land. I have seen many beautiful places and wonders of the world but there is nothing quite like waking up looking out the window seeing dew on the grass and perhaps the spiders weaving their webs with the drew drops catching in the sunlight.

  30. Lisa Connors on August 11, 2022 at 1:51 pm

    Nature and family are the main thing that grounds me. And feeling small and insignficant in the grand scheme of nature or my brief time on earth is actually a freeing and wonderful feeling to me. I agree with your sentiments whole-heartedly.

  31. Meredith Childress on August 11, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    Thank you for the lovely blog, Anna. I appreciate your love of nature and all that it inspires in me and others. As a little shift from flowers and birds, I want to say that I’ve been watching the James Webb camera that is out in our universe. Speaking of awesome! It wouldn’t be easy to paint, but it is total inspiration. I also just watched a video on YouTube that gives an explanation of fractals. And there are lots of examples, which are startling in their beauty and infinity. Painting your beautiful subjects draws us closer to nature and to our essential selves. We just need to recognize that we are all part of that marvelous pattern!

  32. Sue Luffman on August 12, 2022 at 1:58 pm

    Hi Anna, I read your story ‘Landscape’ magazine which I have delivered monthly. I’m fortunate enough to live on the edge of a very large Forest with views of Dartmoor. I get to walk int Forest every day if I want , or go to one of my special ‘secret’ meadows where I will sit and meditate. They say that a visualised meditation is as good as 8 hrs sleep,handy in this heat!!! Sharing the Forest are deer, birds, and all the lovely creatures of natures world. I connect with nature, morning moon and night and am more assured, confident and content in anytime of my life.
    We are all part of the natural world and after several friends deaths due to cancer in nature here I learn about rebirth, cleansing and peace. I’m grateful. X

  33. Catalina Anghel on August 20, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    I also love nature. I think God is the most inspiring and best artist ever! The beauty He created surrounds us all. Then He blessed us all with eyes, feelings and consciousness, so we can admire his art’s perfection.
    I also try to reproduce its beauty, I model sugar and cold porcelain botanically correct flowers and spend hours and hours studying the subject..
    I started to paint watercolors with you, during the lock down and it’s so satisfying!
    Thank you for sharing your art and thoughts with us all.
    Big sweet hugs and tones of love from Spain

  34. Nedda Walkup on August 21, 2022 at 4:39 am

    Hi Anna,

    Thank you for your wonderful words of wisdom. After a long illness, I had forgotten how healing a connection with nature can be. I had always enjoyed nature and being outdoors hiking the Appalachian Trail, camping, whitewater rafting, exploring Yosemite and the California Redwoods, and visiting the Grand Canyon. I am now in an assisted living facility and because of my health and then Covid, I have been extremely confined indoors. However, this summer I volunteered to help with watering the plants on the six balconies. It is so wonderful to visit the flowers and see how they are doing even when they are not due for watering. Sometimes I take my food tray and eat on the balcony. One balcony does not have a cover and I love going up there to look at the clouds and the tree tops. Your art and words have been such an inspiration to me. I love the classes and I plan to upload some of my paintings. I feel like I have reached a point where I am confident enough to do that!.
    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you and your encouragement. Love, Nedda.

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