Meet the Canadian artist drawing inspiration from nature

Florence Rivest: My Story

Florence Rivest is the artist behind the illustrations in the #NatureForAll Report on Urban Nature.

I had the immense privilege of growing up on the banks of the St. Lawrence River (Quebec, Canada) which flows directly in front of my childhood home. This amazing playground, combined with my mother and father’s love for the outdoors, produced in me an innate desire to observe and appreciate nature. My parents were always quick to point out the fluorescent blast of a sunset and the velvety colors of the mountains that are seen in the distance. There wasn’t a day that went by that my mother didn’t tell us, looking out the dining room window, that we lived “next door to paradise’”. And even though she made me roll my eyes back then, she wasn’t wrong.

As an illustrator and artist, I draw most of my inspiration from nature. From colors, to stylization, to metaphors, I realized over time that natural settings provide sharp tools to reflect the human experience. The best parallels to express our emotions are found in our environment; it contains all the hues and nuances to communicate them.

For the past few years I’ve been bringing my sketchbooks on excursions outside. Personally, I find a drawing session in nature much richer than one in the studio. It facilitates a connection with oneself and nature that is far more profound than the actual result. In the hectic pace of my life, these moments of observation are oases not only of creativity, but also of personal alignment. No need to go deep into the woods either, a trip to the park is often enough to free up mental space and recharge my batteries a bit.

Lately, I’ve been wanting to share this experience with others. I will be offering outdoor art workshops this summer through my new project, Erre. Between the classes in the parks of Montreal, where I live, and the canoe-camping expeditions on offer, I really hope to transmit my affection for the land and its beauty. Falling in love with our nature is a big step towards wanting to preserve it.



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