Expressing My Love Of Nature

The sea, sky, and all living creatures are transient. It is only the land that endures. It is the land that sustains us.  I am creating nature based images to provide an escape from the everyday and foster a connection with the importance of the land to mans well-being.

When Brian Was A Boy – 16×20” – Oil on canvas

Rather than provide a mirror to what is easily seen, I am trying to represent ordinary scenes in an expressive way to capture a fleeting mood or impression. Not to explicitly say what I feel, but to allow the viewers imagination to interpret the work, and form a connection to a fleeting thought or emotion they may have felt once before. I want them to sense the importance of the land, and how man needs nature to survive; not just physically but emotionally as well.

“I don’t paint the landscape. I paint the spirit disguised as a landscape.”

I am trying to represent the poetry within a place which the viewer can connect with through the human spirit, more so than the intellect.  It is a form of visual storytelling to communicate with them where words fail. You can speak the words to someone and have them understand, but through a poem or painting you can speak in a language people can feel in the depths of their soul. Because I want to speak on a more emotional, intimate level, my paintings are in a smaller format to foster a closer, quieter conversation. I don’t have a loud personality, so why should my paintings be any different? 

About Roberta Murray

Since childhood art has been my window into freedom – a private retreat which I could escape into. Painting, drawing, and photography were a means for me to create my own world; a world that could be whatever I wanted it to be, real or not. My other passion since childhood is nature. I lived for trips to the mountains, picnics by the lake, stays at family ranches, a trip to the zoo. What I wanted most was to see wildlife or be around animals – dogs, cats, horses, cows, you name it. I loved them all. Bears were, and still are, at the top of the list.

 I have spent the majority of my life living in the country, surrounded by nature, wildlife, and domestic animals. The connection I had with the wild critters of the land was broken when we moved to Red Deer, Alberta in 2018. Though I always knew how important nature and the outdoors was to a persons wellbeing, the move to a city has really made how important wild, open spaces is to a persons soul. 

Mary Oliver said it best:
“Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours.”

Today, the opportunity to view wildlife is even more thrilling and important for my sense of wellbeing than ever before. Some have stated I get as giddy as a child in a candy store, who has just been told they can buy as much as they like, when I see wildlife. It’s true. The thought of our wild places and the creatures who live there being threatened, or disappearing, is of great concern. 

Book Cover Photographer

This has probably been the highlight of 2020.

Sure I’ve had many other book covers, but the only other one that even came close to being from such a well known author was David Baldacci’s “The Hit”. The past couple of years has seen me doing a lot more photography than I had been doing for a few years. Part of that was our move and having new scenery to explore, but also because of becoming more focused on one specific market for my photography.

I started out as a fine art photographer doing work for galleries, and while I still maintain part of my career for the wall decor market, the heaviest emphasis has been on work for book covers which fits with my idea of telling a story through visuals. I have, even during the gallery days, been most interested in how people interrupt the image and the stories they form around it. I love that aspect of being a visual artist!

The other thing that has kind of blossomed in 2020, is the illustrations done for the book cover market. I dabbled with that before, but have really explored it this year when travel and getting out there wasn’t as accessible due to the pandemic. I find the two mediums really compliment each other. The illustrations allow me to put a more human focus into my work that would be difficult (for my introverted self) through photography.

Illustration of an Asian man behind a white picket fence.

If you are interested in my work for the publishing industry, you can view my portfolio at Arcangel Images.