Botanical Bodies 4 – In the Forest

That feeling in the forest, when you sense a rhythm and knowing larger and wiser than your little anxious brain. The ferns, trees, fungi and mosses are running on ancient time and knowing, that breathes so slowly, inhaling our our exhales into the earth. In the forest, I feel like my body can remember that it is not the silly thinking of groups of people trying to sell things and prove things that are in charge. It is thoughts so old and expansive I don’t even know the words. In the forest, my body can remember how to be cared for.

This is my fourth illustration considering the body as an organism in ‘Botanical Bodies.’ Also a moment to consider that all bodies deserve access to nature without judgement, and that our current sizeist culture is a barrier to this. Many folks in large bodies cannot access equipment or sizes they need to take part in nature based activities, and / or are treated negatively when occupying these spaces. All people, in all bodies, should feel welcomed in nature spaces without a lens of healthism or fitness imposed upon them.

Oil Painting- flow through

This painting is part of a series about natural flow systems in nature.  I began thinking about this when I read a book that proposed the “constructal law,” developed by Adrian Bejan, a mechanical engineering professor at Duke University and expert on thermodynamics.

“The law of physics that accounts for the phenomenon of evolution of organization (configuration, form, design) throughout nature, inanimate flow systems and animate systems together. A principle that essentially places the recurring patterns we see in nature into the world of physics.”

-Adrian Bejan

I found this deeply comforting, as it spoke to a sense of order amidst chaos and interconnection on the deepest level.  I often think of nature as an anchor, especially in our modern frenetic and anxiety provoking mental landscape.


2 ft x 3 ft, oil on wood panel


This painting is based on an aerial view of a river in Iceland, and centres around concepts of flow, transformation, and cleansing. Though inspired by personal and emotional experiences, the moving through and washing away that flowing water symbolises are welcome acts as we witness Trump’s first days in the White House, and the chaos and harm that he is creating.  The idea that something greater than the human brain has dictated that life must be in a perpetual state of flow, change, and impermanence is comforting.

Moving water is also raging, violent and transformative of the landscape it flows through. I am not proposing that we are passive witnesses of the world’s craziness, but part of the rapid, turbulent currents as well. Our energies of anger, seeking justice and united strength are essential to this project of transformation.

Nature, societies, technologies- all exist in a state of perpetual evolution.  If this is a stage, and we are on our way somewhere else, let us transform intentionally, together,  into something better.


Read a 2016 interview with Adrian Bejan in National Geographic.