After growing up in Chicago and owning a graphic design firm for 20-plus years, Natalie Wargin decided to pack up and move to the Hudson Valley in 2008. Wargin and her husband had spent holidays in Stone Ridge with her sister, and always admired the area.
Her intricately detailed watercolor paintings of Hudson Valley flora and fauna started out as a blog. Family, friends, and fellow artists showed interest in her work, and before she knew it, Wargin was getting feedback from Hudson Valley natives who'd moved out of the country, rural folks who picked up and left for urban areas. Her art provokes a kind of nostalgia.
Wargin's work gives viewers the opportunity to see the Hudson Valley with a fresh perspective—big-city-girl-let-loose-in-the-country awe. "I'm still flabbergasted when I see turkeys walking through my yard, owls sing me to sleep. I've seen so many bears. And the deer," she laughs. "I feel like such a city girl when I say it—'Oh, a horse! Oh look, a deer!' I still feel tickled by all of this wildlife."
Wargin's work depicts animals and buildings as whimsical yet proportioned, incorporating structured patterns and playful images drawn out in soothing colors—a glimpse of the awe she still feels for the Hudson Valley's natural composition. Eventually, Wargin says, she'd like to work on larger landscapes of the river and more of the valley.
"At the beginning I thought, maybe I'll run out of things to paint," says Wargin. "And I realized, 'Oh my god, I'll never run out of things.' It's the forest itself, the woods. I never realized a forest was like this. It's been a real pleasant eye-opener."
Originals, prints, and background stories are available on Wargin's website. Nataliewargin.com.