Throughout my practice I am interested in creating a relationship between art and nature. I have been exploring a variety of methods to portray different ways that nature, place, landscape and environment can be integrated into art work. My Ideas stem from the work of John Piper and the Romantics who aimed to capture a sense of experiencing a place through a more expressive approach to painting. They didn’t simply paint a landscape, their work connected with it. Attempting to capture an essence of being in a natural surrounding, I incorporated natural objects physically into my work. I quickly realised that I was particularly interested in the connections and relationships that art and nature could have and wanted to explore these avenues and challenge the more traditional landscape approach.
In a world with a growing urban environment, advancing technologies and environmental issues contributing to the depletion of the natural terrain: I feel that art has an important role to play in connecting or reconnecting people with nature for our sake and Nature’s sake. Through My art I intend to expose the viewer to and connect them with nature. Inspired by Artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Richard Long and Stuart Cairns to name a few, I have produced a body of work that explores the interconnections that art and nature can have. I work with what Nature has to offer and the colour palette reflects that. Nature links my experimentation together and is embedded into my practice.
5 Key Points – Documentation
1. Chosen Artwork: Starting Point: Development of Ideas. I started this project inspired by the work of John Piper, particularly his piece “The Rocky Valley, North Wales”. After researching the artist, I discovered that he aimed to capture a sense of place within his work and integrate an experience of the landscape he was portraying. I started experimenting working with the theme’s of Landscape and Place, particularly a place that was close to me, The Brecon Beacons.
2. From a Connection to place to a Connection between Art and Nature: Experimenting with Ways of integrating Art and Nature. Experimentation Led me to realise that creating a sense of Landscape and place could be captured by including thing’s from the place in my work, this is where I began working with art and nature and investigating ways in which art and nature could be integrated.This is significant because this realisation influenced the rest of my project. It came to my attention that our world is becoming highly urbanized and distanced from nature. I thought about how including natural materials in my art could expose people to it and somewhat reconnect them with a natural environment. I set about exploring different ways I could incorporate nature into art whether that be through my use of materials, drawing with natural found objects or by collaborating with nature.
3. Mixing Natural Materials into Paint.
The idea of creating a connection between Art and Nature led me to mix acrylic paint (an art material) and natural matter together. I was interested in the textures that could be achieved and I kept exploring the possibilities. I enjoyed the process but lost my ideas a bit and I felt that even though this work included natural materials it wasn’t really showcasing them. Infact they were being hidden within plasticy man-made paint. A connection between art and nature was not evident enough. By this point, I also felt I had exhausted images of the Brecon Beacons and so more deeply connecting my work to nature by formulating landscapes influenced by the shapes of twigs.
4. Experimentation: Making Paints and Painting Tools from Natural Materials.
My work largely developed from here and instead of mixing materials into man-made paints, I created my own paint from natural materials and started experimenting with grinding my own pigments and binding them to paint with. Inspired by my the Field Modules, I made tools from natural materials to apply the paints with. My colour palette and mark variation was limited to what nature had to offer, I was creating art with nature and out of nature.
5. Making Landscape work from Natural Paints applied with Natural Tools and Final Assessment Space.
After going on a journey of investigating ways to integrate art and nature, I decided that the most successful method was to work with natural paints and apply them with tools made from natural materials and so I started working on Landscape pieces (formulated from the shape of twigs) in this way. My work showcases ways in which art and nature can be intertwined and challenges traditional landscape painting. The paints and tools I also see as artworks in themselves so as well as my paintings I have chosen to exhibit them in my assessment space.
My Space is set up for assessment. After seeing the size of the wall I had been given, I decided to display the landscape mark making experiments I produced on hand-made paper using my tools as well as the original plan of the three paintings, the tools and paints. I am very pleased with how the display looks. I have kept it quite minimal and I think it looks clean and proffessional.
Statement about my Display of Work
Natural Landscapes have for a long time, been a subject of artworks. John Piper’s ideas about creating an experience of being in a place within a painting and his work “The Rocky Valley” got me thinking about how some landscape paintings today document landscape visually but don’t really connect with the nature within the place. I started thinking about how I could create connections between art and nature and expose people to nature in a world that is becoming increasingly urbanized and technological. After much experimentation, investigating how to work with the natural world within the art world, I decided to create a final body of work to bring my experimentation together and consolidate my findings. Three Natural Paintings, accompanying hand-made equipment and sixteen tool mark making experiments framed with twigs make up the space. The Colour Palette is dictated by Nature alone. Within this work, the landscape type images themselves have come from nature, the shapes of sticks dictated the form of the mountain shapes (these are displayed below the paintings). Inspired by my Field Modules, I have used elements from nature to both create the paints I have painted with and the tools with which I applied the paint. I have chosen to display the tools and paints that I have made on shelves with the outcomes as I see them as artworks in their own right and give the audience an insight into how the work was produced and visibly show the relationship between art and nature that I am portraying.
I now just need to display the jars of paint on the top shelf and my space for assessment and an exhibition is complete.
Assessment is approaching, and I am starting to think about consolidating my project and working out what I want to show on the wall. I have sifted through my experimentation and come to a conclusion as to how the greatest connection between art and nature is made, simply by being more natural with my materials and more inventive in my approach to how I use them rather than just sticking them to the surface etc.
My project started off being inspired by a landscape painter, I have always been interested in Landscape and producing landscape style pieces with these materials will not only emit a connection with nature but the landscape in my eyes will be more connected to the outdoors as it incorporates items from the environment. I challenge traditional flat landscape paintings and reinvent them using natural materials. People recognise a landscape painting and so using this imagery as well as my natural paints and tools to make art will emit a connection between art and nature to people more recognisably and somewhat expose them to and reconnect them with nature in a world that is growing more and more urbanized.
Triptych Landscape Painting
I have produced a triptych of landscape paintings connected to nature in far more ways than just the imagery. The landscape images themselves are taken from nature, I have referred to the shape of twigs to determine the shape of the mountains and hills. The paints used to paint these are made from natural materials and they have been applied with brushes and tools made from leaves, sticks, grass, pine cones, etc. The colour palette has only emerged from what nature has to offer and so is recognisably natural.
Working with nature is a highly experimental and interesting process, each paint incorporated a different texture into your work and each tool creates a different mark.
I definitely think these pieces are successful in portraying a connection between art and nature. When I started experimenting with these ideas, I would never have imagined I would have ground my own paints and create my own painting tools (inspired by field). Experimentation and trial and error have been key elements in my work and have aided my success.
A relationship between the art world and the natural world is clearly evident here and against a white wall I am confident that the natural colour pallette will stand out and so I have chosen to use these within my assessment space, I feel that the paints I made and the tools I produced are artworks in their own right, taken from nature and utilised as art materials and so I will be displaying these in my assessment space as well. As well as these pieces and my tools and paints, I will paint a line drawing style landscape onto handmade nature paper with each of the 16 of my tools and display those aswell. Mark making has been integrated throughout my project and so showing the marks that the tools can make more gesturally to accompany these more clean final style outcomes could make for an interesting display utilising nature in art.
Assessment is looming and we have been asked to display work that showcases our subject work and displays links from the field modules undertaken within it. Supporting work and sketchbooks will be placed on a table below. I have drawn a proposed plan of my wall space.
I have decided to display three outcomes. Each image will be of a landscape taken from the shape of twigs I have found out in the environment. I will display the twig shapes underneath the paintings. The paintings will be produced from natural paints that I have ground and made myself and the paint will have been applied with tools that I have made from natural materials, inspired by my field modules. I will also display the paints I make in jars with labels on them on a shelf and another shelf below will display the tools I have made as I believe both these elements can be considered as artworks in their own right. The whole display will showcase a connection and relationship between art and nature. I have been exploring how I can link the two through a variety of ways within my subject work and I believe this display will portray that connection.
I have been making tools to draw and paint with out of natural materials and playing with using them to make marks and images etc within this project, in a recent tutorial, my tutor suggested that I should draw them. I started drawing the tools with a variety of media.
I had thought about drawing the tools before inspired by the work of Stuart Cairns but I didn’t really have a reason for doing so. As I have experimented with the tools, I have grown to see them as art objects in themselves and not just tools for creating art and so I definitely think they are worth being drawn and being used to draw with.
After experimenting with the natural paints that I have created in my sketchbook, I decided to produce some mountainous images on board. I took the shape of the mountains from twigs, painted with natural substances and also used sticks to apply the colour: articulating numerous relationships between art and nature. I feel that these experiments look very natural and communicate the colours of the earth, browns, greens and tones of yellow. I also managed to create a convincing bluey turquoise colour, using bluebells with which I portrayed a sky feel to the experiments.
These images are possibly a bit too aesthetic and I think if I experimented applying the natural paints with some nature tools that I have created they could be more gestural and even closely more related to my ideas. I have been communicating a connection between art, place and nature and I definitely think these experiments are successful in doing so, I am now thinking about the final outcome for the project and want to sum up my ideas and display my findings. Brainstorming begins.
I decided to experiment with painting my natural paints onto canvas. I wanted to evaluate which is more successful to paint them onto board or canvas.
After this experimentation, I feel that board is more appropriate, the colour seaps into the canvas more and doesn’t sit as well on the rough texture and I will be bearing this in mind for when I am thinking about making work for my assessment space.