We love nature as a part of art. Several great artists, such as Chelsey Bahe, Patrick Dougherty, and Andy Goldsworthy use natural loose parts for art. Natural materials are used with artistic elements to create nature play scenes, whimsical stick creations, and just for the moment nature art. Mandalas are also a fun and easy way to explore loose parts!
We often will look at artwork by these artists from the following books and then try our own hand at creating whatever comes to mind.
Take 'em Outside--Chelsey Bahe does great work! Several times a week, she leaves artistic creations on stumps along the trail at a nature center. People now specifically watch for her new creations. She adds pictures of them to her Facebook page. She is a huge play advocate and encourages following the child's lead outside.
2. Heart Stones--This collection of hearts made of stones and rocks is inspiration to keep looking for art in nature, without even having to make it ourselves. Art is in nature if we will but look for it.
Andy Goldsworthy's Work-- Goldsworthy has several books and a couple of documentaries about his work. His art is made with elements he finds in nature and manipulates to some degree, using artistic design principles for his creations. His art is ephemeral and will not last long; however, they have been captured by photographers for our inspiration. I first found this book many years ago and knew I needed one. I've used it over and over again!
The work itself determines the nature of its making. I enjoy the freedom of just using my hands and ‘found’ tools – a sharp stone, the quill of a feather, thorns. I am not playing the primitive. I use my hands because this is the best way to do most of my work. If I need tools, then I will use them. Technology, travel and tools are part of my life and if needed should be part of my work also. A camera is used to document, an excavator to move earth, snowballs are carried cross country by articulated truck. --Andy Goldsworthy
Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty--I think I absolutely love this because I was able to work side by side with Patrick on one of his creations. I enjoyed the process and love his whimsical stick work. Since we have ample sticks, this is great eye candy as we get started with outdoor creations. Read about our adventures here.
Sticks are something we all have in common. Everybody knows sticks – the twigs and branches picked up on grandfather’s farm; the branches woven in grandmother’s basket. Somewhere threaded in all the public mass is a common thread, and that thread is the human spirit. --Patrick Dougherty
5. Natural: Simple Land Art through the Seasons--I really like the simple, seasonal nature of the land art in this book. This seems more doable for kids, though is a great study in lines, textures, and natural elements.
Land Art in Town by Marc Pouyet--I love how this books shows art and nature in whimsical spots in town. While I enjoy "deep nature", nature is all around us wherever we may be.
7. Nature's Art Box--This is a collection of many crafty activities that could be made from nature.
8. Land Art for Kids is a website with instructions and many examples for creating land art.
The author says, "Land art for me begins with seeing the world and nature through child’s eyes, I am grateful that it is something I have never lost. Making natural sculptures allows me to indulge a little longer in that child’s world. Whether you are proficient or just dabbling, an adult or a child, making a sculpture or just kicking through fallen leaves, it is all the same to me. It’s all about being outside experiencing all nature has to offer." Richard Shilling, Land Art for Kids
9. The Organic Artist--This guy makes all his own art supplies from nature! I love this. An easy way is to make your own "carbon" for drawing with the sticks from the campfire. My kids already do this.
A few blog posts you may like: