Remember in elementary school when you would fold up a piece of paper, make a few snips, and unfold a snowflake? You probably got sooooo much praise for creating an image of these natural wonders out of a mere piece of paper. Well tell your 6-year-old self to GET STUFFED, because artist Lorenzo Durán’s nature portraits made of cut-away leaves blow your artwork out of the water.

Durán doesn’t only do nature scenes; he also has some amazing geometric patterns and Celtic knotwork made of leaves. But the leaf medium makes bug and animal art seem like (excuse me) a natural fit. And Durán explains on his website that his work reflects an enduring interest in ecology. Here’s the Google-translated version:

Personally, my life has always been linked in one way or another to nature. My fascination with animals and plants developed in me the curiosity to them, seeing them as an indispensable part of our life. On the other hand my love of the mountains made me realize how insignificant and important we are at a time in this great game of life. For me a plant is a complex mechanism of energy synthesis and a simple sheet hidden mysteries that only time will reveal.

And thinking about the importance of ecosystems, where the tree is about what turns a lot of species and therefore must be careful, I have come to mind the phrase I try not to lose sight of:

“The environment is one of the essential parts of a living being.” (Jorge Wagensberg)

You can buy or request custom artwork on Durán’s site, because face it: If you want a nature scene cut out of leaves (and if you’re anything like me, you didn’t, but you do now), you are NOT going to be able to take care of that yourself.