Land Art

Andy Goldsworthy – Rowan Leaves and Hole

“Land Art” (also known as  Environmental Art, Art in Nature, Ecological Art, Restoration Art, Earthworks, Earth Art, and Ecoventions), was made famous by Scottish artist Andy Goldsworthy.  The idea is simple – visit a natural area and create art with the natural elements that you find – leaves, sticks, rocks, acorns, icicles, snow, shells, etc.  Land art allows students to use their imagination, have fun, work creatively with others, physically and emotionally connect with nature, and appreciate the impermanence of the world.  It is also free, and allows students to reap the physical and mental health benefits of being active outdoors.  If you would like to have your students create their own art:

1. Show them my Land Art PowerPoint, the DVD Rivers and Tides, or some pictures of land art.  You can do this several days before the class if you would like them to scope out areas or brainstorm ideas.  Otherwise, simply show them at the beginning of class.  You can give them criteria if you like (ex. create smooth colour transitions, create a specific shape such as a spiral, make a drawing, etc.), or give them total freedom.

Richard Shilling – Leaf Fade

2. Set up groups, give them physical boundaries, a time limit, and send them out to create.

3. Take a photo and/or have each group visit the other groups to check out and discuss their art.

4. Because I do this activity with my PE class (and not an art class), I do not mark students on their creation.  If you would like to follow-up with students you can have a  discussion with them or have them write a reflection on:

  • How did you feel when you were making your art?  Mentally?  Physically?
  • Why did you choose the materials you used?
  • How would you feel if you randomly came upon land art while in the outdoors?
  • How long do you think your land art will stay like this?  Is land art meant to be permanent?
  • Could you see yourself doing land art again?  Why/why not?