My inspiration from birds and plants and landscape is simple: I find it all incredibly beautiful. I don’t depict individual birds, though; I choose to idealize them. And I place them in a symbolic scenario. I don’t strive to copy a scene in nature; I idealize and symbolize what interests me about that particular imaginary environment.
The history of nature in art is essentially the history of art itself. Animals and plants as subject matter have always been a major part of art and literature. Back as far as Paleolithic cave paintings in France and in ancient Egyptian reliefs, animals have inspired artists as allegories, muses and reflections on human nature and mythology. The ancient Greeks elevated the imitation of nature to high art and the Renaissance perfected that tradition. Every man-made decoration from cathedrals to tapestries on the wall of a palace to embroidered tea towels for the kitchen are inspired by the nature around us.
Of course, modern art movements have often rejected any reference to recognizable subject matter by employing abstraction and non-objectivism. I seem to be taking the middle way — somewhat abstract backgrounds combined with realistically stylized subject matter: but always inspired by nature.