People often talk about nature ‘decorating’ itself as the seasons change: leaves change colors in the fall, the world turns white in the winter, and things green back up in the spring. But what if nature actually did decorate itself in an artistic fashion? Artist Norm Magnusson has been experimenting with that idea, painting objects he finds in the natural world and through that creating something highly imaginative and fantastic. What inspires him to do this?
“We use nature how we see fit: we strive to bring order to it, we seek to explain it in a language that doesn’t belong to it, we try to make it prettier, we try to make it better, we try to make it more profitable. Some efforts succeed, some don’t.”
“This series, “Decorating nature” is about all that and is also all about beauty.”
Magnusson creates charming textbook inspired captions to explain the natural world he creates. His leaves don’t just “go plaid,” they “self-sensor” or display flashes of blue “symbolizing a long winter.” It’s a world almost as fun as Dr. Seuss, but even better for one reason: it’s our world.
“Beauty is the best friend of consideration,” says Magnusson. “If a photo is pretty, the viewer will spend more time with it. If a viewer spends more time with it, they will begin to think beyond the surface of it and into the meaning of it. That’s the dynamic I hope to create in viewers of my work.”
Above – fig. 56: not normally associated with seasonal transformations, some stream-side stones actually will begin to pixellate in late autumn/early winter.
Below – fig. 20: local children must climb high into the plaid tree to harvest its young leaves traditionally worn at vernal equinox celebrations.
fig. 33: the rare chameleobirch leaf can be harder to find than a 4-leaf clover.
fig. 38: in autumn, some leaves will use color bars to help get everything perfect.
fig. 44: some leaves zig where others zag.
fig. 48: decomposition usually follows a predictable pattern, as seen in this river pine.
fig. 54: some evergreens are not.
fig. 68: some stones “blue up” when the water gets cold.
fig. 73: a maple key with cartoonitus.
fig. 87: leaf of the bullseye maple
fig. 95: some oak leaves self-censor.
fig. 96: dead limbs never blink.
fig. 97: a leaf begins the process of blending into its background.
fig. 72: white-dot fungi fill every surface of a tree stump.