Written by: Natasha Kudashkina
I have always had a special relationship with Nature. I was raised in a country side in Siberia, Russia. I was surrounded by nature & animals my whole childhood. We ran through the forests, picking berries and mushrooms, saving birds from the fire, watching out for big fish in a lake, hiding from pirates behind big bushes and running through hills with our sheep.
Our cow was smart and beautiful, we would adventure into the near by land, to look for her, when she got lost…
Nature always provided for us. We raised our own garden, we had big potato field, plenty of animals,
as well as two dogs and a cat. It was all so wonderful and fun.
I’m grateful to my parents for making this true. My mom and dad who made a choice to raise us close to the Mother Nature. A vivid image of her imprinted into my child’s imagination. I often would draw her, a gorgeous woman wearing a flower crown. Peaceful, kind, generous, fair….she would always look back at me, from my piece of paper.
Her cheerful face would make me feel good
When The Green Leaf hotel requested me to paint Mother Nature on a side of their building, I was very interested.
When they described further more what they have imagined, I was ecstatic to start on the project.
My heart was glowing with anticipation and excitement!
Little did I know, the whole trip would mean so much more than I anticipated…but let’s talk about Mother Nature.
She is the star of this story! It was such an honour for me to create her and spend so much time together.
It took place in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where there is a a warm climate, which makes for very rich animal & plant worlds. As I was painting I would make friends with spiders, frogs, dragonflies and cats. Listen to all kinds of new unfamiliar sounds and rooster songs, all surrounded by greenery, trees and flowers.
The Green Leaf hotel lives up to it’s name and has many plants all through out, as well as a lovely pool right on the middle. The centre piece! That is where I began my creative journey, with big Sun and bright flower, with blue shapes, representing the water and of course a sky with golden clouds.
Then I began painting Mother Nature. During the process, many thoughts flew through my mind. Of how beautiful and powerful she is, how much she provides for the Earth and the humans. How thoughtful and sometimes funny she is with her creations, and a true artist! It was an emotional piece. At times I also would think of how much the human world have hurt the nature and that it is still happening…but yet, she doesn’t stop to love us…
I kept on painting, letting drop drops down my cheeks…
It was exhilarating to work on her portrait and I’m truly grateful to have the chance to do so.
Once again Mother Nature was peacefully looking back at me, except now, she was on a side of a building.
Both of us were proud and happy to be here.
I continued creating her hair as a rivers and an ocean waves coming down to the first floor to then expand into variety of landscapes, themed for each room. There were mountains with lakes, waterfalls with forests, fields with grass and flowers, tropical places with palms and a sea and a sleeping volcano, covered in trees and plants. There were all kind of animals hiding in each landscape, if you were to look, you would find over thirty of them.
In the lobby I painted my own interpretation of the Moringa tree, which is a superfood and has a lots of medicinal benefits, nutrition and healing properties. It offers enormous amounts of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need.
Almost every part of the tree is edible, full with excellent nourishment to both humans and domestic animals.
I ate Moringa omelette almost every day! It was prepared by amazing cook that works at the hotel.
It was always yummy and made me feel strong and healthy.
I finished my work with a little flower on a decor piece in the lobby. Only thing, the flower kept on growing rapidly.
It bloomed in many colours and shapes. It seemed, I did not want to stop, but it was time to wrap it up.
Out of all things, that was the hardest to do.
I have lived and painted at the hotel for over 20 days, yet it definitely felt much longer. It has become my home and with each brush stroke it meant to me more and more … I was enchanted by The Green Leaf, it’s owners, it’s staff members and of course, the country itself, beautiful and humble Cambodia.
I’m so grateful for this opportunity. By scale, this is the largest project I ever did. I feel inspired and uplifted by this experience. I have learned many things and notes were taken. To wake up every day and paint nature was a dream come true. I will cherish these memories for many years to come.
If you are visiting Siem Reap, you know where to stay!
For more info, please visit the website and see what else hotel has to offer.
Thank you for reading!