Have you ever said, “I’m not artistic; I can’t draw a stick figure”? I have good news for you: stick figures are not the yard stick for art. The world is full of opportunities to “do” art. This month is National Wilderness Month (celebrating the 54th anniversary of the Wilderness Act), and there is such a thing as Earth Art or Land Art which allows all of us to be creative. You can take a trowel and carve circles in the dirt and make art.
Earth Art began in the United States in the 1960s as a rejection of the traditional notion of confined galleries and museums where “true art” could be bought and sold and displayed. It was an embrace of nature and a celebration of found objects as art and beauty. The very transient nature of the designs were part of the art’s essence.
Because this creative expression couldn’t easily be displayed in galleries, it opened the experience to everyone. Anywhere there were rocks or leaves a person could arrange art. And this frees us all to be artists! In my hallway by the front door, I have a large bowl with stones I’ve collected, and my grandchildren can’t resist stacking them into towers. A farmer in Simi Valley can’t help but plow a happy face into his hillside next to the freeway. I arrange smooth river rocks to flow between my flower beds. On hikes through the hills, there are ledges of stacked stones inviting a peaceful thought. All of these actions spring from our creative center. This urge to assemble or organize or declare our presence is innate; it is the desire to proclaim who we are and that life matters and is good.
So, have fun with nature and rocks and dirt; leave your fingerprint on your surroundings and know that you are a creative and artistic soul (and forget about drawing a good stick figure).