Research Point: Land Art

LONG140002_1I looked at the work of Richard Long (1945-), a Land-art artist who walks and measures using found objects to create his artworks. He never makes lasting alterations to the landscape, but marks his chosen places with stones. He also paints with mud like the women in Africa who paint their mud huts with earth-based pigments using their hands to create their traditional patterns. For him, walking as art is his way of exploring time, distance and terrain, somewhat like the Aborogines during their Walkabouts. I find this approach of using the pigments of the area to create very site-specific artworks interesting. I’d like to try this painting-with-mud approach when doing some sketch walks along our local river. The mud would contain not only all the sludge, toxins and the negative imprint of man on nature, but also contain the DNA of the river – from source to point of extraction. Inspired by this approach, I collected some mud and sludge and dipped my paper in it, allowing the muddy water find ist own way. It is very fragile as the dried mud brushes off too easily – but I consider it a form of transient art. Perhaps I ought to have sieved the sludge to ensure that only fine sediment   would be used. But I didnt want to mix in any medium. Could try this next time in Roussillion with the ochre in the earth  – wonder if the rivers there have yellow sludge?

033   032My Isar mud experiments on paper – an ongoing Project.


It is interesting to listen to Katherine Stout at a Lisson Gallery Talk about Richard Long’s work and process on you tube

Images Kind courtesy of accessed 09.09.2015

Another very interesting Land-art Artist I looked at was Andy Goldsworthy (1956-). He sets out with no idea what he wants to create and lets the materials he finds show him the way. He uses photography to record how his work grows and decays. His materials are flower petals, icicles, leaves and mud, pinecones, snow, twigs and even thorns to create. I like his idea of setting off with no preconceptions and using what he discovers to be inspired to create. These land artists are reverting to nature as a source of inspiration and materials, like children who roam through their terrain letting their creativity loose.

1)Iris leaves with rowan berries. 2)Ice spiral-treesoul. 3)Goldrock-goldleaf on rock All Andy Goldsworthy. Source: accessed 09.09.2105 I am still trying to figure out what caused the ice to create that perfect spiral against the force of gravity.

To round off this list I chose to look at James Turrell(1943-), an US Land-Artist who works with space and light. His studio is the sky. (He happens to be a pilot  too like Lanyon).  He says, “ We are living in a reality of our own creation“ and that he wants to create „an experience of wordless thought“.  He creates other-worldly light spaces which he calls „landscapes without horizons“. I rather like this idea of moving into this realm of landscapes without horizons and of reducing art down to light. The Old Masters strived to capture light in their paintings. Turrel creates with light! This gets me inspired to get back to my vast canvasses of monocolour.

james turrellcraiganour_oculus_21-111x150  jamesturrellBreathing-Light-2013-Florian-LACMA- 1) Skyspace. 2) Breathing Light 2013 by James Turrell. A skyspace is a chamber with an opening in the Roof to the sky.The opening may be round, square or oval. Images and quotes Kind courtesy of accessed 09.09.2015

How could the artists I have researched influence my own work?

I like the recording Constable did on light, weather etc. and that he did many preliminary sketches. I do adopt this discipline now so that in inclement weather I can finish off my work inside, but I actually prefer working plein air.

049  050042 048 039  047 all sketched plein air.

I love those blocks of colour in Ivon Hitchen’s work and feel encouraged to omit detail, use broad brushes and enjoy my brushstrokes. This is something I already enjoy doing.

002 003 005 006


James Turrel’s saying, „a landscape without a horizon“ and his light bathed spaces inspire me to look back on my hugh canvasses of monocolour – with thirty or more glazes to create a feeling of great depth. I cannot work with light as he does, but with pigments and glazes this astronauty feeling of weightlessness might be achieved. I have done some large canvasses using pure pigment and self-ground bits of lapislazuli, turquoise and other soft blue stones to create an expanse of pure colour.It did have an unearthly feel. But I didnt think of them as landscapes before. Now I could appropriate his expression and refer to them as a landscape without a horizon.

I also like the idea of using found natural objects to create transient statements in nature. One makes these objects out of what one finds in situ, photographs it and leaves it for nature to repossess it. Very ecological and no toxic paints, no plastics, no unnecessary waste caused.

Researching all those landscape artists was very interesting and there was much which can come in useful in my own work in future.





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