Vanda Cummins: Connecting people with nature through art

Vanda Cummins: Connecting people with nature through art

Illustrating the wonder of the wild in her brushstrokes, Vanda Cummins is a self-taught watercolour artist and Remember The Wild’s first ever ‘Artist in Residence.’

‘I strive to capture the beauty in nature I see, and the kind of stillness nature provides. I hope to plant a seed, a flicker of curiosity, that drives the viewer to explore their relationship with nature and themselves, to embark on their own journey, and share it with others.’ says Vanda.

At Remember The Wild we’ve been incredibly lucky over the last 12 months to work with Vanda – her beautiful illustrations have featured on many of the banners of our newsletters and fundraising campaigns.

Vanda (from Loki Loves) draws and paints  in a bayside suburb of Melbourne with her husband Gav and dog Loki, fulfilling her lifelong dream of living by the beach.

Vanda contacted us a little over 18 months ago asking if she could offer her services to help RTW with our fundraising efforts. We were blown away by her generosity and enthusiasm. From our very first conversation we knew she was a kindred spirit! Vanda agreed, ‘I saw the sugar glider campaign artwork that a friend had created to help fundraise for Remember The Wild. I wanted to support their work and wondered if my art could help. It was wild, from our first call I knew it was meant to be’

In the months that followed, we were able to explore seasonal flora and fauna together – some of which Vanda was learning about for the first time. These went on to feature in our newsletters.

Vanda has always been fascinated with nature and she told us how this only intensified during the pandemic. ‘I love where I live, near beautiful beaches and parks, but I really struggled during lockdowns. I needed to do something more, to feel more connected to the world’ she says.

Vanda also shared how important art and nature was for her mental well being. 

‘The more I explore the world around me, the more I learn about myself. Nature is my therapy and an important part of my mental health routine. I have been fostering my connection to nature my whole life, but when I became ill and then found art, something new stirred within me.

It was a stronger desire to be in nature, I became more aware of what was around me, the shapes and colours which were now messily being recreated on a page. I discovered something peaceful, a space away from pain and judgment. That was the start of my creative journey.’

Growing up in London, green spaces and parks have always been a part of Vanda’s life. However, discovering nature in Australia gave her even more inspiration for her art. She says,‘The Aussie bush is full of wonders, strange flora and fauna spread across startlingly beautiful landscapes. My curiosity to know about what I see drives me down rabbit holes of discovery’.

Vanda also shared her experience learning about our Traditional Owners wisdom of Country and our relationship to it. ‘Last year was the first time I heard the phrase ‘Connection to Country’, isn’t that beautiful? Indigenous Australians believe that ‘we don’t own the land, the land owns us’. Country is loved, needed, and cared for, and country loves, needs, and cares for her people in turn. I can’t help but imagine the world we would live in if we all felt and acted this way,’ says Vanda.

In addition to providing us with her beautiful illustrations, Vanda was also instrumental in running an artists fundraiser last year for RTW off the back of the Inktober challenge, inspired by Australia’s threatened species. We were thrilled by how many people took up this challenge!

‘It was wonderful to see so many people come together from different skill levels and create such beautiful works. I included information about the species and organisations that support them as I hoped others would be as interested as I was. They were! I organised a fundraiser with donated works from the challenge, and along with 13 other artists we raised over $1300 for Remember The Wild.’ says Vanda.

We were touched by the generosity of these artists and can’t thank them enough for donating their work. Vanda’s challenge also helped highlight the importance of supporting organisations and volunteers who work hard to protect our threatened species and habitats.

Vanda says that she will continue to encourage other artists to use their work to inspire nature connection. ‘Working with Remember The Wild has been so important to me and although my residency is up I intend to continue supporting them. My wish is for my artworks to highlight their work, to start discussions about these important topics and encourage people to go outside an explore’

We have loved working with Vanda as our ‘Artist in Residence’. We are grateful for her ongoing friendship and sharing her journey of becoming an artist inspired by nature. We share her sentiments on how art can be used to delight, educate and create opportunities to have meaningful conversations. We hope to continue to discover new ways in which different artistic mediums can create more people-nature connections by working with a new Artist in Residence in the Spring.

If you are interested in becoming our next Artist in Residence, please send us an email – we’d love to hear from you! Contact us

Vanda Cummins was Remember The Wilds artist in residence in 2021. You can view and purchase her artwork via her website and shop

On Facebook 

On Instagram 

All images property of Vanda Cummins @lokilovesart

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.