Countryside scenery captured on canvas

Saturday May 5 2018

A painting called

A painting called "Mystical Forest" by nature lover and visual artist Leah Njenga. PHOTO | KARI MUTU | NMG 

By KARI MUTU
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Nature lover and visual artist Leah Njenga’s early life in the highlands of central Kenya instilled in her a deep appreciation for nature.

Today, her surreal paintings are of forests and hills represented in a classic or contemporary manner. Njenga demonstrates a natural intuition for capturing the intangible elements of the natural world.

Beautiful Forest Destination depicts a whimsical scene with a wooden footbridge over a mountain stream, water lilies, green meadows, trees blooming with magenta blossoms, and a gorgeous blue sky reflected on a river surface.

Walk in the Woods has a narrow path winding through tall, willowy trees and heavy undergrowth. The trail paters off into a bright but hazy fantasy-like woodland that seems to draw you into its verdant paradise.

“My work is on landscapes, that’s where my heart is,” said Njenga. In her view, a landscape does not exist in its own right since its appearance changes every season. She says, “The surrounding atmosphere brings it to life, the air and light vary continually.”

Beautiful Sunset in the Forest is a painting of a wide dirt road flanked on one side by a wooden picket fence. The road is shaded by large trees within an ambience of golden yellow light, a picture of warm serenity.

A few of Njenga’s acrylics on canvas illustrations have wildlife, usually water birds, but otherwise she lets the topography, trees and light do the talking. Three dark birds stand on a rock in a river flowing down through an open woodland in a painting called Mystical Forest. The lemon green atmosphere reproduces the coolness and sense of stillness in the forest.

Among some of her other works that feature people the one called Virtuous Woman stands out. It is of a woman wrapped in blue and red flowing garments, walking in a semi-desert carrying pots, and some cattle in the background.

Her work is admirable for someone who is self-taught and a part-time painter. With continued effort and some art tutoring, she has the potential of becoming an outstanding landscape artist.