art has enriched my life…


(the following series of statements were written some time ago to help redefine my work as an artist. the images document a similar process through actions within our new workshop space – eARTh.)

…more concisely it has enriched my relationship with the natural world – through observation and increased sensitivity to its rhythms, entities and energies – and with myself

my work as an artist (environmental, ecological or earth) hopes to share this sense of enrichment

from this statement it may be seen that there are strong similarities between my perception of art and of education (or forms of learning) – I make no apologies for this

art and education may both provide spaces for people to enhance and transform their experience and hence perception of the world, and they can both be enjoyable and entertaining

through utilizing my skills in graphic design and illustration this originally took the form of illustration and interpretation for environmental education projects

art may also be enjoyed as a form of escape, but to escape from what is always the question, or as a means to focus our sense of interconnection – art and life as ecology

painted concrete floor with light and shadow, eARTh (© p ward 2014)painted concrete floor with light and shadow, eARTh (© p ward 2014)

cordyline bushels (© p ward 2014)cordyline bushels (© p ward 2014)

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T. S. Eliot


“Aesthetic appreciation of the natural environment is not simply a matter of looking at objects or ‘views’ from a specific point. Rather, it is being ‘in the midst’ of them, moving in regard to them, looking at them from any and every point and distance and, of course, not only looking, but also smelling, hearing, touching, feeling. It is being in the environment, being a part of the environment, and reacting to it as a part of it. It is such active, involved aesthetic appreciation, rather than the formal mode of appreciation nurtured by the scenery cult and encouraged by photographs, that is appropriate to the natural environment.” Allen Carlson, 2009


“Re-engaging with the raw materials from which our lives are shaped is a potent reminder of the difference between what is real and what is only illusory” Anna Konig

sweeping the floor, eARTh (© p ward:f owen 2014)sweeping the floor, eARTh (© p ward/f owen 2014)

wool wire rings 1 (© p ward 2014)wool wire rings 1 (© p ward 2014)

wool wire rings 2; bundles, bushels and stacks; gathered wool (© p ward 2014)wool wire rings 2; bundles, bushels and stacks; gathered wool (© p ward 2014)

paper (© p ward:f owen 2014)paper (© p ward/f owen 2014)

painting with earth

as a painter my intention has been to share a sense of resonance and connection, a sense of the spirit of nature, that have inspired and supported my actions in this life

an obvious way to do this is to use earth pigments, to use nature itself

another way is through experiential workshops in the environment

initially I collected soil from mole hills and mixed this with paint

later I was invited to research earth pigments in north devon where there is a rich history and abundant supply

working with pigments, gathering and processing them, and learning about their nature and history transformed my art practice from one focused on the production of objects (paintings) to one based in process and collaboration

this is not to deny the fundamental processes and products of traditional art but to embrace all and any means and forms of communication and expression and to maintain my practice as an artist

my work has included illustration for field guides, interpretative displays for environmental education projects, environmental art workshops, collaboration with ecologists, geologists, geomorphologists, conservationists, foresters, dancers and choreographers and work for museums and ecologically inspired companies and even arts organisations; I have illustrated and written books, made paintings on canvas and cliff faces, installed installations in galleries and the environment, performed residencies, organised events and made films for public and online viewing

none of this has altered my artistic intent…

to enrich and inform experience of the natural world and ourselves within it.


© p ward 2014

One Comment on “art has enriched my life…”

  1. Clare Thomas says:

    Thanks for this Pete – perfect timing as I am writing a statement and some of your thoughts have helped me to clarify mine.

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