Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Why I Love Making Land Art

I love making land art because it happens outdoors and for me it's the ultimate creative challenge. When I set out on a walk in the woods or along the beach I don't know what I'm going to encounter along the way. Will there be ice on the creek or colorful rocks to work with? Will the weather cooperate?  Will I be able to get a picture of my artwork before the wind takes it away? The mystery of it all keeps the process exciting.

The weather is probably the most important factor. Often the gloomiest days produce the nicest lighting and best pictures. Even snow and rain can be beneficial at times but nothing destroys a piece of land art like the wind. This winter I also learned about the challenges of working in the cold. I found myself with freezing fingers on many occasions because in order to move the ice, rocks or leaves where I wanted to I had to take off my gloves. The gloves made me feel clumsy. I remember vividly putting my bare hands into the creek and gently sliding them under a piece of ice. The water was so cold and the ice was smooth and thin. I managed to push up on it and crack off a beautiful piece, which I then carried up the riverbank and into the forest. I did this four more times before starting to build my ice sculpture.

Taking a great picture of my artwork can also be very challenging. It might take two hours to build something but I've only got two minutes to take a picture of it before it disappears. This often involves lying on the ground or balancing on a branch. When I do manage to get that perfect shot, it's very rewarding.

The last thing I want to mention is the impermanence of it all. I know that everything is always changing and that even a painting on canvas won't last forever but when I'm making Land Art it speeds all that up. I don't become attached to my art because I know that within minutes or days it will be gone. There's a sense of freedom in knowing that. I simply enjoy the process and when I walk away I feel at peace and intimately connected to that place.


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