What inspires me

TheOrganicSister always ends her monday posts with, ‘What inspires you?’

What inspires me these days is the realist, landscape painter Robert Bateman.

Inspiration is magical. It comes in many different ways and these days my inspiration is for painting and art.

When I was in grade 3 I went on a school field trip to the Artist For Kids gallery where he had an exhibition. He was one of the art patrons, supporting art programs for kids.

At the time, I wasn’t interested in anything. The trip was boring all I want to do was go home and sleep, but art is better than being at school so I didn’t complain.

For those of you who don’t know Robert Bateman an introduction.

Robert was born in Toronto, Ontario in the early 30’s. Most of his living area was surrounded with forests, creeks and other communities that animals called their home. He’d venture off, bird/animal watch, draw the creatures he seen.

It developed into a deep respect for nature and all it’s inhabitants, including a heavy involvement in environmental and conservation organizations. All of this is represented in the subjects he chooses to paint.  One called Vancouver Island Elegy really represents that for me (click here to see painting.)

Last week, I found two treasures of his on the couch. Two biographies of his left there by my uncle’s girlfriend. I don’t know what instinct made me stride towards them and pick them but I soon found my self opening them up.

Even though the subjects he paints are all around me. They still hit me strongly. His paintings capture something else. Something I fought not to put a name to but I have to. The words float in my head like fairies and I have to capture them to words. Their dust is getting in my eyes.

Robert’s paintings capture a different world. His paintings are intimate as though the subjects of his paintings are his long friends and we’re getting to see them in a moments we never would see.

When I see his paintings, I see respect, every stroke, line, mark is appreciation for the subject of his work. In seeing his appreciation, I being to take on my own appreciation for the life around me, seeing the trees, sky, shrubs as works of art in their own right. Seeing the light that emits from them, their gentle way of being alive in the world. In a way, Robert Bateman’s work has reminded me of what is important to me. The way I feel about the land that I live on, the creatures that I live with.

A few of my favourite paintings of his:

The Challenge – Bull Moose – The Retrospective Tour 2003

Rhino and Oxpecker – Tyson Gallery, London 1975

Vulture and Wildebeest – Tyson Gallery, London 1975

Sheer Drop – Mountain Goats – Smithsonian Institution Washington, DC 1987

I hope you enjoy Robert’s work as much as I do and in closing a quote by the man himself:

“I can’t concieve of anything more varied and rich and handsome than the planet Earth. And its crowning beauty is the natural world. I want to soak it up, to understand it as well as I can, and to absorb it… and then I’d like to put it together and express it in my paintings. This is the way I want to dedicate my life.”

– Robert Bateman



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