Editor’s Letter | The Nature Issue

Celebrating the power of the natural world

By Kristin Hoerth

Whispers by Steven Curry

Whispers by Steven Curry

This story was featured in the June 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  June 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

In this month’s issue, painter Darcie Peet mentions a quote from naturalist and Sierra Club founder John Muir that I have always liked: “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.” A fuller version of the quote, which is from his 1901 book Our National Parks, is as follows: “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

Anyone who loves the outdoors can surely relate to that sense of “nature’s peace.” It can be found not just in the mountains Muir loved so much but also in forests and deserts, along beaches and streams, and in countless other wilderness places where the influence of mankind fades from view and the power of Mother Nature reigns supreme.

The beauty and transformative power of nature, in all its many forms, is the focus of this month’s issue. Our featured artists celebrate the land and its creatures from a variety of vantage points: Arizona, Wyoming, New Mexico, North Carolina, and California.

Steven Curry paints the California landscape from his home base in the Ojai Valley not far from Santa Barbara, often focusing on the Golden State’s iconic trees and romantic, dramatic light. His ultimate goal, he says, is for his work “to be as beautiful as I can make it, to the point that it brings the viewer joy.” Jennifer L. Hoffman, who’s based in Jackson, WY, is drawn to the more subtle colors of the land, seeking a “quiet distillation” of her subject matter, which includes the wildlife that shares her rural property. Hib Sabin puts his full attention on the animal world, calling upon ravens, owls, and other creatures to convey a sense of the mysterious and the sacred.

Ralph Grady James is likewise seeking to convey spiritual meaning in his paintings of North Carolina’s coastal islands and the migratory bird species who pass through them. “I am a spiritual person, and I want that to pervade my life and work,” James says. “Painting, in a way, is a form of worship for me.” And Darcie Peet, who explores the West from her home in Tucson and her summer place in the Colorado Rockies, calls its landscapes “powerful and humbling. They evoke such a sense of awe and deserve a great amount of respect. There’s a personality in the wilderness that is beyond beauty.”

This story was featured in the June 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  June 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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