Brain Pickings

In The Wilds: Illustrating the Charm of the Countryside

An antidote to urbanity by way of bails of hay, or what Irish quasi-postmen have to do with art.

For all its blessings, one of the great tragedies of urban life is that we’ve lost the granularity of nature, the calm of the countryside, the quiet details of the soil after rain or a tree’s cracked bark or the soft glimmer of a summer field. That’s exactly what you’ll find in illustrator Nigel Peake‘s new book, In The Wilds — a lovely collection of hand-drawn illustrations that capture the near-forgotten charm of rural life. With his penchant for obsessive detail and neatness, Peake portrays the wild in a captivatingly structured, patterned way, blending whimsy and order in stunning pen sketches, ink drawings and soft, muted watercolors.

The country is peaceful. It is a place to draw and work and be surrounded by things that we could never make.” ~ Nigel Peake

And Peake should know — he lives in an Irish village with just one road, where he gets a rare outsider’s view of the inside of farm life and is frequently mistaken for the postman.

‘Bails of hay collected (end of summer).’
Image courtesy of Nigel Peake via The Morning News
‘Pallets stacked in yard’
Image courtesy of Nigel Peake via The Morning News
‘The barn structure stands alone, surrounded by discarded and ordered fragments.’
Image courtesy of Nigel Peake via The Morning News
‘The fallen scarecrow.’
Image courtesy of Nigel Peake via The Morning News
‘Bails wrapped in plastic (for winter).’
Image courtesy of Nigel Peake via The Morning News

Images courtesy of the artist via The Morning News

This book is a record of a quiet place that nearly everyone has visited at some point, and the farmland is part of this—a place where the lanes of farms run along the lake that is beside the hill of trees that is neighbor to open spaces.” ~ Nigel Peake

In The Wilds comes from Princeton Architectural Press, who have a knack for thoughtful visual delights, as you might recall from The Map as Art and FORM+CODE.

Published May 16, 2011




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