As I have learnt and refined my methods, I have quickly realised that one of the most fulfilling aspects of painting nature is the sense of emotional wellbeing that can be derived from the process of study and observation of nature and its representation through art. Each painting involves a complex interplay between subconscious and conscious processes and takes you deeper into examining your own personal bond with nature. We are all born with this intimate bond, but it is so easily lost, particularly in an urban environment where contact with nature can be difficult to maintain.
Teaching the representation of nature through art, especially to children, could represent a powerful means to reinforce this bond, and in doing so, spread the message of how it important it is to protect and conserve species and habitats.
I enjoyed running a series of classes in Feb 2011 to teach the basic techniques of botanical watercolours in the magnificent setting of the UNESCO Man & Biosphere reserve of Montseny near Barcelona, and look forward to doing more.'Conservation through education' projects
The Bosque das Orquideas project is designed expressly with this concept in mind to bring the message of conservation into an urban setting by teaching and the establishment of a permanent resource for image dissemination.
'Conservation through education' using nature art as a tool to reinforce and catalyse positive individual attitudes towards nature is a theme that I am keen to develop further. I see such an initiative as a vital means to underpin larger, more costly conservation projects such as scientific research and land acquisition. Repeating the Bosque das Orquideas model in specific regions of the world where biodiversity is high, the threats to its existence are identified and where projects are underway to conserve the remaining habitat could have significant impact.
This really would be cost-effective, sustainable, local action for global impact.