Lush, Vibrant Paintings Depict the Magic of Growing Up Outdoors

Allison Green has been fascinated with nature since she was a kid growing up near the forest.

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May 14 2017, 12:00pm

Images courtesy the artist

Most of our childhood memories revolve around play: the games we made up, the imaginary friends we created, and the places where we felt the most carefree. Allison Green grew up in a small Philadelphia town in a home on a hill overlooking a forest, and some of her fondest memories are tied to that special space.

"We would walk through the stream, build forts out of fallen branches, and run around the giant honeysuckle bush," Green tells Creators. "My bedroom window faced this forest, and for all the magic it brought to my days, it also frightened me by night. My earliest memories also include nightmares about these same woods, and in my dreams characters like The Big Bad Wolf would come from out the forest and appear in my window, tormenting and terrorizing me through many nights."

That environment, and the years she spent playing in nature, would later inform her work—large-scale paintings of nature in its all its stunning beauty. The forest of her childhood became "a central impetus for the enchanting, surreal and larger-than-life natural imagery" she paints today.

At the age of 14, Green created her first large-scale piece for a school assignment. She painted it on four-foot pieces of plywood in her basement, a makeshift studio where she let her budding creativity flow freely.

Green's pieces depict flowers, butterflies, birds, trees, and other parts of nature that might seem familiar on first glance. But a closer look reveals the little bits of symbolism and knowledge that Green hides throughout.

She often researches the habits of interesting creatures and uses that as inspiration for her pieces. Her String Theory series was "inspired by the African Weaver Bird's nestmaking and mating habits." As Green explains, the male bird works his hardest to create a stunning nest in order to attract a female. When she first saw the nests in person, they reminded her of solar systems—a comparison that reminded her of the importance of building homes and worlds.

There's an inherent anthropomorphism to each piece—something she weaves into her work to "implement personal and universal narratives." Her Arboreal Portraits series, for example, actually depicts "portraits of trees named after women in [her] family."

Working at this scale also allows her to enter an "alternate world" she creates. The act feels "akin to a joyful, ceremonial dance" and requires that Green pay attention to every little detail in an up-close and intimate way.

"From the way the center of a flower with millions of tiny seeds can reflect the endless cosmos above to the intricate veins in leaves which mirror the human circulatory systems, the small details which abound in the natural world are intriguing and awe inspiring," Green says. "My hope is that the viewer of my work is equally amazed and looks more closely at the small yet astounding details found in the natural world."

The pieces are invitations to make a connection to nature, to see ourselves in each scene.
"In painting plant life with these human-like and larger-than-life qualities, and with these underlying subtle narratives, I hope that viewers will be able to identify with the subject matter on a personal level, and in turn will connect to nature and all life forms in a more personal, thoughtful and compassionate manner."

To learn more about Green's work, click here.

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