Environmental art is a growing movement and it’s evolving all the time. Which, makes it a little tricky to nail down a precise definition; much like art itself. Essentially though, it’s when artists use natural materials to create works of art. Most of the art is created ephemerally, meaning it’s only temporary. And some of it is created to call attention to environmental issues. All of it, however, is stunning. I mean, just take a peek at the work of Patrick Doughtery, Andy Goldsworthy, and Agnes Denes (click on the links to view). Incredible, right?
But making art with nature doesn’t have to be on that grand of scale. It can be as simple as making a mandala or color wheel using flowers and leaves from the garden. For this Camp PBS Parents project, we’re heading outdoors to make art with nature.
This activity is about exploration and expression. Kids explore the world around them and then express themselves creatively using materials they find in it. So I won’t bore you guys or stifle anyone’s creativity with a traditional tutorial. But, here are a few tips to get the kids started…
Tips for Artists
- Be creative! Use materials in unexpected ways. Use tree sap for glue or pieces of charred wood as drawing pencils.
- Dry materials like bark, stone, moss, and seeds last a long time; fresh flowers don’t. But art made from green material is super cool in its own way: it can only be viewed for a short period of time, making it extra special.
- Make one piece or an entire collection.
- Create a gallery for your work.
A quick word of caution: As your gathering materials, especially if you’re gathering materials while out on a nature hike, watch out for poison ivy, oak and sumac. Repeat to yourself, “Leaves of three, let it be!” And it’s best to steer clear of mushrooms or anything oozy. Yuck.