Category Archives: Environmental Art

Earth Day 2021: Restore Our Earth

You realize that on that little blue-and-white thing, there is everything that means anything to you — all history, music, poetry, art, death, birth, and love — all of it on that little spot out there that you can cover with your thumb.
— Rusty Schweickart, NASA Astronaut

Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Here is an excerpt about the history of this event from the Earth Day website:

Senator Gaylord Nelson, a junior senator from Wisconsin, had long been concerned about the deteriorating environment in the United States. Then in January 1969, he and many others witnessed the ravages of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Senator Nelson wanted to infuse the energy of student anti-war protests with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a teach-in on college campuses to the national media, and persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair. They recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist, to organize the campus teach-ins and they choose April 22, a weekday falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, to maximize the greatest student participation. The event was called Earth Week.

Recognizing its potential to inspire all Americans, Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land and the effort soon broadened to include a wide range of organizations, faith groups, and others. They changed the name to Earth Day, which immediately sparked national media attention, and caught on across the country. Earth Day inspired 20 million Americans — at the time, 10% of the total population of the United States — to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development which had left a growing legacy of serious human health impacts. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment and there were massive coast-to-coast rallies in cities, towns, and communities.

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders approached Denis Hayes to once again organize another major campaign for the planet. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest honor given to civilians in the United States — for his role as Earth Day founder.

Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes.

The theme for 2021 is Restore Our Earth. Visit the Earth Day website to learn more about how to be involved.


Image information:
Blue Marble Earth Montage (Jan. 30, 2012) — Behold one of the more detailed images of Earth created yet. This image was created from photographs taken by the Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on board the Suomi NPP satellite. The satellite is named after Verner Suomi, commonly deemed the father of satellite meteorology. Photo credit: NASA


Original broadcast of CBS News Special Report with Walter Cronkite about the first Earth Day, 1970.


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Artist Spotlight — Gravity Glue: The Stone Balance Meditations of Michael Grab

Land Art 2018 wall calendar

Land Art is composed primarily of the natural elements available at hand. Materials such as rocks, leaves, and water are the medium, and the terrain is the canvas.

The 2018 edition of the Land Art wall calendar presents the work of stone balance artist Michael Grab. His rock balancing is a meditative practice that flows with passion and patience. Achieving a challenging balance requires contemplation of both mental and physical elements in real time — the now. Encountering his creations inspires a sense of peace and magic — a feeling that anything is possible.

Working with contemplative patience amid the sound of flowing water, Michael Grab achieves impossible stone structures with gravity as his only “glue.” Although steady hands, slow breathing, patience, and problem solving are carefully honed skills essential to his craft, Michael’s work relies more on his ability to still his mind and tune in to the nature of the rocks and his surroundings. “There comes a point when the mind shuts off entirely, like in a deep meditative state.” Michael says. “In a very literal sense it feels like creating a state of union with the environment.”

Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Dietmar Voorwold: Creations In Nature

Land Art creations by Dietmar Voorwold

Images from our Land Art 2016 wall calendar. Click image for more info.

Each year we showcase a different artist in our Land Art wall calendar. The emphasis of using materials from nature and creating installations in nature is consistent among all of these talented artists. But the materials they choose and the themes they explore are as diverse as the splendor of nature itself. Sally J. Smith was our featured artist for 2015, when the calendar explored her ice sculptures, twig architecture, and leaf and flower mandalas. Sally also builds faerie houses for a living!

For 2016 we’re honored to present the work of Dietmar Voorwold, which shows harmonious palettes of light and color and seems to defy gravity. He spends much of his time along the coasts and rivers of northern Scotland, where, sometimes in the course of a single day, nature moves through the spectrum of color, light, and weather, creating a lively spectacle throughout the sky and in the interplay with the earth. “It’s a matter of finding the balance,” he says. “The perfect place, the perfect material, the perfect shape. The right moment. There’s always a chance that the sculpture will collapse, the incoming tide will come too early, the light will change too quickly, a dog will step over my mosaics.” Photography is another important aspect of his art. This is how he freezes a brief moment. The actual installation will be gone within a few days or even minutes, depending on the rhythms of nature. The never-ending coming and going, the creating and letting go, the transitoriness and changeability in nature are charming aspects of his artwork.

In response to the WordPress.com photo challenge, Dietmar’s exquisite sense of balance and observational skills are a sublime example of being Careful. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Sally J. Smith: I build Faerie houses for a living!

We asked Sally to share her thoughts and process on being an environmental artist. Her connection to nature and the magic within is captivating.  ~ Amber Lotus

Faerie Houses 2016 wall calendar

Image from the Faerie Houses 2016 wall calendar. Click image to see more.

When meeting new people in social settings, the inevitable question arises: “And what do you do?”

When this is asked of me there is often a long pause. The question hangs in the air. The querist leans in expectantly, waiting for me to fill in the void between us. Always a quick calculation has to be made: be vague and simplistic – “I’m an artist” – or more specific – “I’m an environmental artist.” But if the moment is right for either a shock or a smile, I will say, “I build Faerie houses for a living!” and wait for that idea to settle in. Continue reading

Exploring Nature Through Art

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.

EA15-06-blogThree Portals
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.” Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Andres Amador

We are honored to share this guest post written by one of our contributing artists, Andres Amador. His amazing, large-scale sand art delights and enchants viewers and we’re so glad he captures it all in photographs. His “Connections” image is featured in our Environmental Art 2015 wall calendar. We asked him to share some thoughts about working with an impermanent medium:

Connections © Andres Amador

Connections © Andres Amador from the Environmental Art 2015 wall calendar

Impermanence is a central aspect of the art I make. Yet for something that will exist so fleetingly, a surprising amount of forethought, planning, and energy is required. Continue reading

Artist Spotlight — Wia Stegeman

Our 2015 calendars have arrived! It’s so wonderful to see boxes and boxes of the final pieces — amazing artwork from so many artists; inspiring text from wisdom teachers around the globe; and the realization of months of designing and planning. Honestly it feels like a gift each year to see the full collection.

2015 Environmental Art wall calendarIn the 2015 Environmental Art wall calendar we’re featuring work by Manolo Paz, Sylvain Meyer, Wia Stegeman, and others. In this post, we’d like to share a bit more about Wia Stegeman.

Wia lives in The Netherlands and has a BA of Visual Arts from Academy Minerva, Arts Academy of Visual Arts, in Groningen. She’s a muti-faceted artist who explores painting, performance, photography, and installations. She describes her work as being “about the hidden reality.” Continue reading

www.environmentalartcalendar.com

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2015 Cover – Menhirs for Peace by Manolo Paz

The 2015 edition of the best-selling Environmental Art Calendar will be available to purchase July 2014 — this will be our 8th year for this title. Andres AmadorManolo Paz, and Sylvain Meyer are just a few of the artists that will be featured.

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2014 Cover Image
© Bob Verscheuren

NEW – Check out this wonderful access to our Environmental Art Calendar Archive and links to information about each featured cover artists: Bob Verscheuren, Patrick Dougherty, Martin Hill, Nils-Udo, Jason de Caires Taylor and others.

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2013 Cover Image
© Patrick Dougherty

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2010 Cover Image
© Martin Hill

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2008 Cover Image
© Nils-Udo

View all the Calendar Covers with links to the Artist’s latest projects here!

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