Live nature. Love nature.

xanthorrhea seed stalk close up, by Ravenari

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…’Yet I also appreciate that we cannot win this battle to slave species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature as well – for we will not fight to save what we do not love (but only appreciate in some abstract sense). So let them all continue – the films, the books, the television programs, the zoos, the little half acre of ecological preserve in any community, the primary school lessons, the museum demonstrations, even (though you will never find me there) the 6.00am bird walks.

Let the continue and expand because we must have visceral contact in order to love. We really must make room for nature in our hearts.’

-> Stephen Jay Gould, Eight Little Piggies.

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One of the many reasons I’m an animist. Illustrate nature and animals. Walk the land. Research it. I love it tremendously. It’s not just some abstract beauty in my heart, but a real, visceral, existing force combined of many living forces.

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For if we do not truly learn to love it, like we love our family and friends and lovers and animal companions; we cannot truly preserve and nourish it in more than an abstract way. Animism is one of the many pathways to that love, but so is genuine research, spending time in a landscape and learning it for what it is, talking to others who love the land and sea and the animals within it, and connecting with that love.

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I wish more people would take the time to learn to love that which gives them life in a truly real way.

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Silver swans and silver ferrets

Watercolour pencils aren’t a graceful medium when I use them.

Frankly,
they can end up looking kind of scrappy.

For example –
We start with this…

But then it sort of turns into this.

And then it becomes this.

The silver swans are available at Etsy!

In the meantime, there’s an upcoming pheasantpalooza (no really, I’m illustrating four of them. FOUR! One’s a peacock pheasant though, so that’s okay).