Here in the Pacific Northwest, we tend to hibernate during the winter months. My neighbors and I joke around about not seeing each other for months. In mid-March we suddenly start to converge on the street for spontaneous, tiny block parties to catch up and celebrate spring. (We also joke around about our coffee and beer consumption during winters in Portland, but that’s another blog post for another time.)
Spring is such a magical time with plants unfurling and blooming in vivid colors and divine shapes. The pale landscape starts to light up with color and dance with texture. It’s no surprise that so many artists are inspired and deeply connected to nature. Two of our calendar titles, Environmental Art and Land Art, show an extraordinary array of styles with nature and natural elements playing the central role.
Spencer Byles, forest materials, France, 2012
Featured in the Environmental Art 2015 wall calendar:
Environmental art takes many forms. It can be a thought-provoking presentation of nature in an urban landscape or an illumination of beauty that draws our awareness to our earthly surroundings. It can also be sublimely emotional, as with “Three Portals,” created by Spencer Byles. Approaching the portals, looking through to the path beyond, evokes a primal mystery. The forest bears witness to a rite of passage that can symbolize whatever you wish. The surroundings are as much a part of a work of environmental art as what the artist contributes. Byles says, “When working in forests or mountains or by a river with natural materials, I might leave the work for a period of weeks or months to allow nature to weave its way back onto, around, and through the materials before I return to complete it. The sculptures look more grounded in their environment once this action takes place.”
This sculpture was part of “A Year in a French Forest.” In this project 25 site-specific pieces were created in a sensitive manner so as not to damage the fauna or wildlife habitat, and all materials were naturally sourced from the locations. “The temporary nature of my sculptures is an important aspect of my experiences and understanding,” Byles says. “I feel my sculptures are only really completed when nature begins to take hold and gradually, over many months, begins to weave its way back into the materials. At this point it slowly becomes part of nature again and less a part of me.”
Sally J. Smith, Wadhams, New York
Featured in the Land Art 2015 wall calendar:
Sunflowers collected from a local garden were covertly stitched together to form a summery spiral. A gentle breeze was just enough to move the sculpture to the center of the pond but not so forceful as to mar the perfect reflective surface. Later, a frog caught a ride and basked in the warm blossoms — the queen of the pond!
In addition to land art, Sally also creates charming, miniature houses from found objects in nature — perfect for any fairy. We adore these little homes, and her Faerie Houses 2015 wall calendar sold out so we know it delighted many of you, too.
Inspire Your Creativity
During the awakening of spring, what inspires you? Our art director, Lydia Hess, loves to spend time at the Oregon Coast. Inspired by the art in our two calendars, she created land art of her own with materials found on the beach.
Enjoy exploring nature and celebrate spring by making your own art!