Rowan Myre of Maple Sapling Studio explores the intersection where the arts and nature meet. As an Owner at Natural Harvest, she understands the importance of sustainability, relating this directly to what she creates.
What drives you to create?
I shied away from art for many years because it can be such a wasteful and expensive activity. Most of the paints available today are made with synthetic pigments and fillers, as well as toxic preservatives. It just didn’t make sense for me to create art about nature if it meant contributing to our cheap throwaway culture.
What saved my art—and reunited me with watercolors—was learning how to make my own paint from rock and wood pigments. It’s become an opportunity to slow down and celebrate Nature in a way that’s both mindful and sustainable.
How do you make your paintings?
I create my own watercolor paints primarily from earth and plant pigments. Many of these are sourced locally (like the birch ash from winter campfires!), while others come from across the world (like my stone pigment collection from Iceland).
By creating my own paints, I not only introduce a new level of sustainability into my art, but I am also able to encapsulate the rich inner beauty of these plants and stones, and offer them as beautiful paintings.
While I do tend towards nature abstracts and folk art, I love exploring new styles and techniques, both to grow as an artist and to look at life from a different point of view.
What does your artwork represent?
The beautiful simplicity of a life lived close to nature.
I am drawn to a slightly abstracted form of folk art that draws on my own Scandinavian heritage, and offer it as a reminder that many of us already have deep-rooted earth traditions that can bring so much beauty and peace to our lives.
What inspires you?
So many things! The smell of woodsmoke from a winter campfire. The sound of waves on the lakeshore, and chickadees singing on the coldest of winter days.
There is so much magic hidden in plain sight, and the more I listen and learn, the more my soul is filled and inspired to celebrate the simple, meaningful things.
What does your artwork mean to you?
Folk style art is such a rich, magical form of storytelling that’s both simple and elegant.
There are so many stories that need to be told: the quiet of a moonlit paddle across a lake; the new plants springing to life in the warmth of a spring sun; the moment where you meet the eyes of a forest creature as it hurries along its path.
Art is my opportunity to respond to these fleeting and precious moments. I paint to share the songs of the wilderness with others; creating art made from the earth in the hopes that it will bring new life and peace to someone’s home.