Nature’s Past, a Historical Perspective

Portraiture and painting the human figure have always been of great interest to me as an artist. But my other passion is for natural history. I am particularly interested in the relationship between humans and nature in a historical context. My work often combines figurative, landscape and wild, native plants and creatures within a single painting. Each tells a compelling story about humanity’s relationship with nature through the centuries. My work is carefully researched and based on historical fact. I believe in the old adage: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” My goal as an artist is to create visually beautiful images that stand on their own as works of art yet impart to the viewer a true story from the natural history of the Eastern United States.

The indigenous people that lived for centuries east of the Mississippi River are often the human subjects of my paintings. But, after recently reading the biographies and journals of John James Audubon, the famous ornithologist, naturalist and artist and his devoted wife, Lucy, I am compelled to create romantic depictions of them within the natural landscapes of their time. Also depicted in my Audubon paintings are the native birds that inspired the creation of his famous color plate book entitled The Birds of America, his great life’s work and legacy.


I also like to create paintings that depict those same birds and other creatures that inspired Audubon almost two centuries ago, placing them in their natural habitats as they still exist today.



For more information about commissioning a portrait, contact Mary Louise Holt.