Five artworks hang on a wall. They all depict wild landscapes with a nature spirit-like figure.

In the Heart of the Wild

For the wanderers who have explored and named all the secret places in their wild backyards…

… and met all the reclusive nature sprites who live there: the dryads, river naiads, mountain oreads, and even the fickle Aurae of the breezes. You might not see them so much any more, but you know they’re still there.

Match with: epic fantasies where the land is even just a little enchanted—Middle Earth, Morrowind, the Continent from The Witcher… you know the sort.

In the Heart of the Wild

About this collection

Framed artworks hanging in an interior. There are white wooden floorboards, a comfy white couch with cushions and an artwork on the wall. The artwork is of a wind dancer, one of the Aurae of the breezes. She stands on a white rock, her hair, dress, and clouds streaming behind her in the wind. Behind her are mountains that stretch down to the sea.

Connect with nature’s flow, even when you can’t get outside

Saying there’s flow in nature is like saying possums poop in the bush. It’s all around us. The trees that bend and grow in the same direction the wind blows. The breeze that follows the contours of the hills. The stream that meanders its way through the curves of the ground. Even the seasons are continuously flowing.

The figures in these paintings are part of that flow. They’re dancing, of course. After all, there’s a lot of flow in dance as well. Their feet, legs, and hips are grounded and supported by the strong earth. Then, they lift up their upper bodies to be entwined with the wind, water, or flora around them.

Brush stroke detail of white water against the green and yellow bank.

Add warmth and texture to your walls, naturally

The paintings in this collection are painted with the largest, splattiest (yes, that’s the technical term) brush I could find—one that leaves swathes of brush marks and gobs of paint on the canvas. When viewed up close, the paintings look like wild abstracts. Then you step back and see the energy and movement come together to form the textures and patterns of the natural scene.

The colour palette is made up of pigments that an Old Master such as Rembrandt might well have used. And the result is earthy browns and calming, restful blues and greens.

Artist, Ailene, is in the middle of a photoshoot. She's standing on a large rock, holding beautiful silk veils that stream behind her in the wind. In the background stretches Golden Bay in the South Island of New Zealand.

Get your wanderlust for the wild back—with a touch of the fantastic

My cousin and I used to spend our school holidays together. We were the sort with “overactive imaginations” who knew New Zealand was Middle Earth—long before the movies.

It’s been a few decades since then, but this summer took us back. We went off-grid, spending sun-drenched days adventuring all over her neck of the woods. We explored secret dells, streams, waterfalls, and alpine rock formations. We stood on the top of the world, looking all the way to the sea.

Of course, as kids, all we took with us was jandals (for the thistle patches) and our imaginations. This time, we had my video camera and flowy silk veils.

Watch time: 1 minute.
Artist, Ailene, is grinning and giving two thumbs up after a successful photo shoot. She's wearing a red dress and sitting on a large tree root in the middle of a forest. Dryad? Wood nymph? You'll have to see how the painting turns out!

Nature is an essential part of our wellbeing

Tickly grass between your toes. Rough rock or bark on the soles of your feet. Twigs tangled in your hair. Cold, clear mountain water rushing around your legs. Wind singing past you, tossing your hair over your face. There’s a lot to be said for feeling so free, so peaceful, and so connected to the natural environment.

There’s more and more evidence showing that being in nature improves your mental and physical wellbeing. Even things like the Japanese shinrin-yoku (forest-bathing) and Scandinavian friluftsliv (open-air-living) has seeped into our every day.

And the good news—it turns out that even looking at images of nature gives you the same healing benefits, helping you feel soothed, connected, and restored.