Animals become one with their environment in Sujay Sanan‘s watercolor paintings. The South Africa-based artist uses the silhouettes of foxes, birds, and other creatures as the frames for realistic depictions of natural landscapes, reversing the way animals blend into their habitats.
Sanan finds inspiration for this ongoing project in South Africa's flora and fauna, particularly the wilderness of the Western Cape. “I began working on a large painting of a cape leopard, the rocky sandstone maintains, and as many species as I could include in their microhabitats,” Sanan explains to My Modern Met. “The project took months and l realized it would take over a year to complete, it would be difficult to sustain us on large works alone—we had a child on the way too.” This led Sanan to the series A Place I Know, which explores the same concept on a smaller scale, over the course of numerous paintings.
Each of these pieces is rendered with a delicate watercolor palette on a blank background, highlighting the beauty and subtle complexity of the layered subject. The landscapes vary from sparse deserts to lush lakes to verdant mountainsides. “These were smaller paintings made exclusively with watercolor, without the use of either black or white pigment and so I was compelled to study and appreciate the subtle hues in nature,” Sanan adds. “I get a lot of my ideas from shapes and contours of natural features, such as trees, tides, mountains, etc.”
You can purchase limited edition prints via Sanan's website.
South Africa-based artist Sujay Sanan creates stunning watercolor paintings inspired by nature.
He artfully merges landscapes with the silhouettes of animals.
These unique pieces reverse the idea of an animal blending in with its habitat.
These paintings also highlight the connection between animals and their environment.