The world is beautiful this spring! If you have been admiring the colors, shapes and patterns of the natural world, it’s time for you to join in nature’s rampant creativity and add to the art show. You don’t need a paintbrush to pay homage to the landscape; you can make art with anything.
Environmental artists use natural materials to help us see and appreciate nature in new ways. Natural objects (such as rocks, leaves, flowers, ice, or even dirt) can be arranged in patterns that delight the senses and communicate our feeling for the world around us. Andy Goldsworthy is one of the world’s most famous environmental artists. These photographs of his work give you a sense of what’s possible in this exciting medium. Located outside, these art pieces don’t last long, but instead decompose or wash away, returning their beauty to the earth.
Are you ready to become an environmental artist?
- First, take a walk for inspiration. Find a material that has a color, shape or texture that you really love. Anything can be the basis for creativity.
- Hold the object, sit quietly, and close your eyes. Clear your mind, and then ask yourself what feeling you would like to convey about nature. What emotion, idea, or experience would you like your art to express? Maybe: Delight? Connection? Excitement? Circularity? Quiet? Journeys? Balance?
- Now, with that idea in mind, ask yourself what simple shape or symbol might best capture that feeling. Maybe: Circles, holes, spirals, crosses, doors, dots, lines, arrows, or piles. This shape will help you plan your piece.
- Choose a location for your installation. Do you want your construction to stand out or blend in gently with the surroundings? You can find a secluded spot or choose a place where a passersby might enjoy your art.
- Gather natural materials, and arrange them in a unique way that expresses your vision. THAT’S IT!
By the way, art should never harm the land or living things. If you aren’t sure about whether it is ok to use an object, then it is best to ask someone!
Check out what you can do by simply arranging shades of color:
Consider using balance, or creating a sharp contrast with the surrounding environment:
So often, people walk past beauty without even stopping to consider it. Your art is an antidote to that! Only through contemplating and handling natural objects will we see their real beauty. The process of creating environmental art brings us closer to understanding nature. In his artist’s statement Andy Goldsworthy says, “For me looking, touching, material, place and form are all inseparable from the resulting work. It is difficult to say where one stops and another begins… All forms are to be found in nature, and there are many qualities within any material. By exploring them I hope to understand the whole… At its most successful, my ‘touch’ looks into the heart of nature; most days I don’t even get close.” But it is so fun to try!