Botantical Bliss: The Mixed Media Art of Cora Niele Courtney Hayes June 1, 2016 ART, POPULAR Artist Cora Niele creates ethereal mixed media works like you’ve never seen. With her roots in botanical photography and an eye for mixing photos, she creates pieces of art that leave a lasting impression on the viewer. Find out more about Cora and one of her favorite things about living in the Netherlands! History The seeds of what I do today were planted long ago. Grandfather took me as a little girl out into nature and taught me to see and name plants. Then I grew up with cameras, studio gear and photos everywhere around me, as my father was a professional photographer. He encouraged me to make photos from a very young age, and I absorbed both the technical and esthetical side of photography almost naturally. After high school, I did a Masters program in floral design and, out of love and interest for art and history, a study of cultural sciences. Outdoors via Cora Niele About ten years ago I got the chance to combine my interests and skills in a company of my own. I started with botanical and garden photography, but over the years my work developed steadily into digital fine art with more abstract designs. Now I have my own studio, not only with classic studio lighting, but also a dedicated natural light room. And of course I keep shooting outdoors. From a commercial perspective, my first contracts were with botanical photo libraries. Nowadays, however, I work predominantly with wall art publishers and art licensing companies. Honesty by Cora Niele via Imagekind Inspiration My inspiration comes from nature and art; In particular glass, wood, and ceramics from designers like Steffen Dam, Tapio Wirkkala, and Timo Sarpaneva. With respect to floral work, Irving Penn and Georgia O’Keeffe stimulated my early explorations. I live in a pre-eminently floral country, the Netherlands. This small country happens to be one of the world’s largest flower growers and exporters, and holds the world’s largest bulb-growing fields. In spring I enjoy the colorful floral patches from my very own working room. Though quite a bit of inspiration comes from even closer by, from my own garden where I grow many distinctive plants and grasses. Studio Gear via Cora Niele Work In my photography the flora is central, but not exclusive. My work varies from atmospheric botanical work to stylish still life photos shot in my own studio. Technically spoken, painterly photos seamlessly shade off into mixed media images composed in Photoshop. Indigo Anemone by Cora Niele via Imagekind Sometimes the raw camera output is almost the end-product, but often an image becomes but one element of a digitally created arrangement. All my digital fine art, though, is built from self-shot photos only. The popular wildflower silhouettes, for example, are composed of dozens of flower and plant images photographed in the studio or outdoor. Profile Shot via Cora Niele Even the backgrounds for my still life photos are homemade, being printed or self-painted textures, or structures things like collected old wood. Again, the physical and the digital world melt naturally together in my work. Continuous experimentation is a leitmotiv for me. I persistently explore new techniques to shape what my creative mind imagines. That is not always easy but when it works out well, it is really rewarding. For some reason, new ideas always fight for time and priority. Always. ‘Stained Glass’ Lime and Turqoise by Cora Niele via Imagekind Technique is crucially important to my work. Not for the sake of being technical, but to achieve the highest possible image quality. I work in the studio with a full-frame Nikon camera attached to a studio stand and equipped with mainly macro primes, natural light, permanent and flash lighting systems, and computer control techniques such as tethering and focus tracking. When traveling – to the British “garden countries” or through natural parks and cultural heritage spots hunting for florals, European couleur locale, and textures such as rust, stone and wood – I work with a professional Fuji X system. Birches by Cora Niele via Imagekind Thanks, Cora! Check out Cora Niele’s collections on Great BIG Canvas and Imagekind.