Artist Profile ~ CARLA FRANCESCA PARACHINI* ~ Second Nature

Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.  ~ Leonardo da Vinci

I spent four decades as a developmental psychologist building electronic learning tools to help children see, understand and communicate knowledge of the world around them. * In this new phase of my life, I have returned to a life-long passion to create art that captures my way of seeing the natural world.

As with my approach to digital media design, I find myself creating a unique path to artistic expression. From the outset I was drawn to art that conveys observations, interpretations and representations of the natural world. Nature is the inspiration. My creative challenge is composing contemporary art work that reimagines the recognizable attributes of natural beauty.

Through mixed media compositions of botanical objects, and paintings of picturesque scenes – cloudy skies, starry nights, dramatic horizons, beachscapes, meadows, crashing waves, sunsets and sunrises, my abstract visual impressions depict the essence of natural objects and phenomena.

Echoing themes in classical Still Life Composition, Botanical Illustration, Pastoral Painting, along with contemporary abstract Nature Art, my compositions reimagine this artistic tradition through abstract visual representations of everyday beauty found in nature.

Using flora (e.g. dried flowers and vegetation, lichen and tree fungi, abandoned nests/hives, vines, seeds, pods, …) as well as traditional materials (e.g. paint, bonding agents, solvents, lacquer) I have invented a method for constructing three-dimensional compositions that put the forms in-relief. I use a variety of techniques to preserve the natural objects, opaque/transparent glazes and opalescent/iridescent paints to enhance the natural colors, and thickening/bonding agents to raise the forms in-relief from the surrounding plane.

“Nature Art” in Three Dimensions?

My objective with each work of art is to communicate a recognizable aspect of nature — color, shape, texture, opacity, transparency. Ranging from impressionistic to abstract each piece suggests a microworld one might observe in nature; garden, forest, island, tidal pool, animal habitat, coral reef, etc. The natural attributes are accentuated to create a transformative effect. The new context is imaginative – even fantastical; yet the origin of the natural object is discernible.

The possibilities for representing the beauty and complexity of the natural world are limitless.  My fascination with this complexity leads me to experiment with different materials to express the intricacies I observe. What intrigues me about natural objects and scenes may not be what others notice. My art illustrates personal perceptions that provoke viewers to see natural objects and phenomena anew.

Like the early naturalists that explored the globe to observe and document flora and fauna, I have collections of objects found in nature from virtually every place I have ever visited. These natural objets d’art find their way into mixed media constructions that reimagine the context originally inhabited. Most travelers return with manmade souvenirs. My luggage is full of flora, fungi, moss, stones, coral, shells, nests, hives, feathers, bones, branches, among other items that elicit amusing, often skeptical, comments from customs officials.

I have come to refer to the art I create as SECOND NATURE. The double entendre implies preserving and using natural objects to reimagine them as art, as well as returning to what was always my second nature …being an artist.

Along with images of each artwork which visitors can zoom in on, I have included detail images that reveal unique elements in each composition — semi -precious stones representing eggs, a tree burl suggesting a secret habitat, a lotus seed pod standing in for a hive.

On this site you will find both fine and decorative art. I seem to gravitate from one to the other. I believe a striking sculptural wreath of wild meandering grape vines, reindeer moss and weathered tree lichen has as powerful an aesthetic presence as a painting in-relief of a tumultuous Tsunami wave.

These mixed media forms and figures are best seen in person, so, I welcome visitors, by invitation, to my barn studio in the Berkshires. And if you are interested, join my mailing list to receive notifications for exhibitions, workshops and open-studio events.

*My father, Giovanni Natale Parachini, died when I was one-year-old. When my mother remarried, I added my stepfather’s name, Seal. When I married, I added my husband’s name Wanner. As a professional, I have been known as Carla Seal-Wanner.  Carla Francesca Parachini is my birth name.  I have decided to return to it as my artist name as it reflects my true identity.

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