By Beth Sullivan
The idea of combining art and nature is an ancient one. Landscape artists drew their inspiration from rolling fields, mountains and rivers. Early schools and societies, including some in Connecticut, became famous for inspiring artists to express their views of nature in their own individual, creative way.
Early botanical herbalists and artists explored the intricacies of flowers and plants for greater understanding, long before there were cameras for accurate documentation. Check out Bauer, Catesby, Ehret, Redoute’ , just for a few.
Bird artists earned great fame for their depiction of birds in their habitats and in doing so, helped swing the tide of conservation to appreciation of the natural world and all that are part of it. Audubon was the most famous and first to show birds in their natural surroundings, but he was followed by Fuertes, Brooks, Peterson and today Sibley and Bateman.
|Crows at Dodge Paddock|
|Cormorant off Woolworth Porter Preserve|
Early wildlife and landscape photographers used complicated equipment to achieve some amazing results : think Ansel Adams and the whole cadre of National Geographic photographers that followed.
|Botanical beauty- Queen Anne's Lace|
In some ways things remain the same today, yet in many ways it is easier to capture images and impressions of the beauty of nature.
|Autumn color at Knox Preserve|
So while the concept is ancient, there is a new idea on the horizon: In its planning stages, Avalonia Land Conservancy is hosting its First Annual Art of Conservation event in October. There will be a contest component with prizes in several categories including fine art and photography, youth and student designations. There will also be an opportunity for artists to simply donate their work for an auction to benefit Avalonia’s mission to preserve and protect more open space.
The idea is simple: get out and record what you see! A call will go out soon to artists, of all ages and in all media including photography, to feature some aspect of one of our Preserves, and there are some inspiring ones! Avalonia holds lands in eight SE CT towns, from shore to uplands. There are open meadows, sparkling brooks, deep forests and inspiring marshes. We protect birds and all manner of wildlife and lovely plants, both rare and common, all with their own beauty.
|Feather on the water off Cottrell Marsh|
You can pan out for the larger view and do some wondrous landscapes or focus in close to find the details in the small gems.
So, while we still have more than a month of summer ahead of us and lovely days of early fall, we invite you to get out and take a hike. Take your children; their art and perceptions can be the most pure and beautiful. Take your sketchbook, pens, pencils and watercolors or if you are really industrious, your oils and pastels. Strap on your camera and show us what your eyes see through the lens.
|Pink Lady's Slippers from Hoffman Preserve|
|Zoom in for the details around the marsh|
There will be more details to follow. You can call the Avalonia office for more information or to get an announcement or application. It should go onto the website soon, so keep checking there, as it is being updated.
Go and enjoy what we have preserved so far and then participate in the event and plan to join us at the Mystic Arts Center on October 18, to contribute to our mission of continuing our acquisition efforts.
|Stone bridge on Pequotseops Brook trail|
Photographs and artwork by Beth Sullivan.