Vanda Cummins - Nature artist


A early painting of a bunch of flowers and ivy
One of my early paintings

Everything now seems so fleeting, nothing made to last, even the seasons betray us. But there is nothing like being outside in nature, watching the golden hour as the sun sets against the gum trees.


So many colours and shapes and patterns around us. I walk as often as I can mainly at the local river, beach and parks, and every time I’m struck by the beauty and ferocity even the smallest weed can show. The fragility of nature with its immense beauty is intoxicating.

The key is to feel a tiny part of nature's therapy, not a master over it. There's amazing pride to be found in seeing a seed grow into a plant, the sneak peek of a petal unfurling, watching a bee land on a flower you planted. It’s not the pride of creation but the joy of being able to join in.

I have chronic pain. My painting doesn’t mask my pain, it flows around it like gentle water, carrying it far away. Painting is my distraction and my wonderland, a playground of colour and form.

I’ve escaped before, from a small child reading fantastic tales of worlds I’d never see. Now I have a way to create them and I cannot put into words the freedom and happiness it brings me. I feel that I’m also slowly unfurling, growing and understand more about myself that I’ll be able to solve some of my problems and thrive because of this journey.

The mark an artwork can leave on you is everlasting. The more I looked at Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, with its strange palette and ‘dream-like’ feel, the way it made me feel was excited, confronted and left me questioning my learned certainties. Manipulating time and memory for expression, tick-tock, time with its relentless rhythm steadfast yet intangible. Salvador Dali had a huge impact on me in my youth. The Great Masturbator where he’s biting his thumb at religion and culture felt like the most splendid rebellion to this catholic schoolgirl.

I love the truth, power and vibrancy of Frida Kahlo paintings. How her art shaped her and gave her a new way of life, expression and escape empowered me long before I got sick. (Now it is a source of strength and inspiration.) The loneliness of The Two Freida’s and the desolation of Without Hope has stayed with me long after seeing them.

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with nature. I’m a self-taught watercolour artist from Melbourne, Australia and I originally grew up in London. I have very few bindings stifling my creativity, I have no fear of the blank page but rather see it as an exploration into my mind and environment. I am so effected by being in nature, since I have developed a passion for botanical painting it’s like a veil has fallen from I eyes and I see the rainbow of delights on every street, the treasure in a crack in the pavement, the resilience of life on a dead tree stump.


My art journey will last my lifetime, it is now part of me, it connects me to my surroundings and gives me hope that things will improve with each changing season. I’ve never known this need and drive before; it’s consuming and gets stronger with each completed project, my passion for nature in art feels indissoluble. Continuing to hone my skills and knowledge, learn natural history illustration and botany to better communicate what I see on to paper, always playing with colour and form, evolving as we all must do.


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