Akiane Kramarik Reveals How Nature Inspires Her Craft
“Without a moment of rest, patiently flying through the mysterious Creator’s palette, our earth is a courageous nomad. Her untouched forests, her relentless rivers, her breathtaking mountains, and her abundant wildlife are all connected to her untamed heart. … All life on earth is unique. All life has a purpose.”
—Akiane Kramarik on the painting Lilies of the Valley
Akiane Kramarik’s purpose is to paint. The artist, best known as Akiane, is now 27 years old, but ever since she first appeared on Oprah at the age of 9 the world has been aware of her thought-provoking art.
“Many artists throughout history have been able to create a bridge from reality to unattainable or unimaginable worlds. With a simple brush, these creative people could create a gateway to unknown worlds,” Akiane says.
In creating that bridge, nature has always been an essential part of Akiane’s journey.
As a child, Akiane and her brothers spent hours outside. She remembers all the details of nature and life, such as a butterfly hovering over a flower or a bird building a nest. Whenever she was alone in a field, she’d braid dandelions together.
“I believe my eagerness to create began in those moments,” she says. “If I strayed too far from nature, I would physically feel my trajectory and inner compass going off-course.”
Nature has helped Akiane understand deeper mysteries of existence. She can see patterns echoing through all levels of life.
“The way rivers cross over long stretches of land is very similar to our veins, which are also like the roots of a tree,” she says. “It’s engraved in us to connect. We need to rediscover those patterns inside and outside of us.”
In her painting Lilies of the Valley, Akiane expresses the interconnection between nature, humanity, and the universe. The subject is a young woman whose auburn hair symbolizes autumn and whose green dress symbolizes summer. Lilies of the valley grow from her necklace. The painting represents Mother Nature and her relationship with humanity.
“Human life is the lilies of the valley flower. We are extremely beautiful, gorgeous, and phenomenal to witness. Our patterns, structure—the way we live is extraordinary. But at the same time, we also have the ability to become toxic and poisonous. Mother Nature, or the nature of the world, has extraordinary dynamic natural disasters. But she can also give us peace while we’re walking through a calm forest or sitting by the ocean waves,” Akiane says.
In the painting, a tear from Mother Nature’s face falls onto the lilies of the valley, which we can interpret as revealing both a nurturing love for humankind and a sadness at the evils humans commit.
“Mother Nature keeps us alive. Humankind is her most prized and valuable possession. We’re close to her heart, very close to the heart of the world,” Akiane says.
Attuned to Time
From an early age, Akiane set aside time in her day to be quiet. “I understood that my inner thoughts became softer and quieter, which gave me a sense of peace and timelessness,” she says.
She finds that quiet time walking through a forest or sitting by the ocean, listening to waves. Yet it’s mostly expressed through her art.
While sometimes perfectionism drives Akiane not to eat or sleep until a portion of a painting is finished, she typically sets aside a specific time every day to paint. Like a Franciscan monk or an Indian yogi, Akiane wakes up hours before the sunrise at 3 a.m. to paint for four or five hours. The yogis call these precious hours before dawn the ambrosian hours, the time when the subconscious mind is most active. It’s a good period to pray and connect with the Divine.
“You really feel you’re alone in the world, but you actually are part of the world at the same time,” she says.
If Akiane doesn’t get up hours before the sunrise, she says her energy is low and her batteries don’t recharge properly.
“It’s pitch black when I wake up, and it’s pitch black when I’m halfway through my painting. The moment the sun rises, a new energy comes through the window. I need to be present at that moment. I need to welcome it. It helps me through my creative process,” she says.
Akiane Kramarik’s Divine timing
At eight years old, Akiane painted Prince of Peace, a heartfelt interpretation of Jesus hallmarked by his kind eyes. In the painting, which was about her own height at the time, Jesus looks directly at the viewer as if to deliver a message.
Akiane’s family shipped the painting to an art exhibition. But then the troubles started—the agent who curated the painting stole it and held it for ransom. After grueling negotiations, it was carelessly shipped back to her.
When Akiane opened the crate, she saw the painting was covered in sawdust. She spent days trying to remove it but some of it remained, perhaps as symbolic scars of the Prince of Peace’s spiritual journey.
Through legal battles, Akiane was able to cancel the contract she had with the agent. But just as Prince of Peace was displayed at another exhibition it was inadvertently sold. The new owner kept it hidden from the public, first under a staircase and later in a storage facility, a figurative tomb for the painting.
“I couldn’t see it and couldn’t get it back for many, many years. It was my most prized and most treasured painting when I was a child. I was devastated, because my heart and soul were in this piece,” Akiane says.
The buyer’s family didn’t want to let it go unless it was purchased for an extraordinary amount of money. Distraught that she couldn’t recover it, Akiane continued her life as an artist. She travelled to 30 countries counseling diverse groups of people about the arts and her messages of peace, spirituality, and unity.
Sixteen years later Prince of Peace became available for acquisition. A well-respected art collector purchased it for USD $850,000. Akiane was finally invited to see it again in person.
“I was completely blown away, because I saw my past soul engraved into it. The sawdust was still in the paint. I saw a lot of the history that was still there, and I was so relieved that the painting was going to be protected in a good home,” she says.
The new owners see themselves as stewards of the painting and they plan to display it around the world. Akiane says she feels so grateful and blessed. She hoped she might see it again but didn’t expect it to be so soon.
“Everything will come in time, and everything will come when you least expect it,” Akiane says. “It’s not on your schedule, for sure. It’s all in divine timing.”
“Everything will come in time, and everything will come when you least expect it.”