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"Natural" by Unicia R. Buster

"Natural" by Unicia R. Buster

36" x 36" Acrylic painting

I was at a fellow artist's home for the purpose of creating together. While she painted, I usually worked on a fabric piece. But this time, I had the urge to paint. Excited, she gave me a blank canvas and told me to go for it. Staring at the white emptiness, I saw myself with an octopus under the sea. But my hands were not cooperating with the vision that swirled in my mind. Frustration overwhelmed me and I tossed the painting aside not wanting to complete it. Months passed but the image nagged at me.

I thought about what it was I wanted to say not just as an artist but as a person. I feel deeply for our earth but at the same time hopeless for her. Our human presence has only grown and plagued her with countless atrocities. The little I do is but a needle in the ocean but combined with others is a landfill crashing upon the sands.

This painting, a self portrait, is a reflection of my plight. I see myself as equal to nature instead of above it. I respect her and all her wonders and I know her powers. I imagine a space where we are made much smaller and our environmental impact on earth is far less extensive if impactful at all. A place where the common octopus sees me as just another fish in the sea and is not afraid to turn his back to me. Where the blue whale gives a gleeful splash knowing I'm not here to harm her. And the clown fish delights in my presence because just like the anemone, they know I will protect them. I exist in this place and it exists in me.

Yet it does not exist and, as a human, I stand apart surrounded by my plastic and cut trees. Using vast amounts of energy in exchange for comforts and amenities. The octopus in his aquarium stares at me. Where will I stand when the earth ceases to be?

Definition of natural:


  1. existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.

  2. of or in agreement with the character or makeup of, or circumstances surrounding, someone or something.


  1. a person regarded as having an innate gift or talent for a particular task or activity.

  2. MUSIC a sign (♮) denoting a natural note when a previous sign or the key signature would otherwise demand a sharp or a flat

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