Thursday, February 19, 2009


Cherry Leaf Circle

Today I dicovered the work of Richard Shilling, a self taught land artist and sculptor living and working in Lancaster in the North West of England.

Cliff Pebble Stack

"My work usually consists of ephemeral sculptures made from natural materials found round and about where the sculpture is made. What comes from nature soon returns to it be it in a few short minutes, hours or days: everything is reclaimed by the sun, tide or wind. My work focuses on the structures, processes and forms of nature and the sculptures attempt to reveal a fresh perspective on what we know about the materials and processes inherent in nature. A particular tree during a particular autumn flush of colour may afford the land artist the opportunity to reveal all the colours of autumn. This chance may come only for a few days and during a particularly good season. Such is the work of the land artist – to attempt to reveal elements of nature at first unseen both to themselves and to anyone viewing their work."

Pebble Colour Bars

I've spent several hours browsing through Richard's work on his blog here and his flickr site here. There are a lot more amazing images where these came from.

Dam and Square

Vertical Stack

Frost Sun

Leaf Curtain

The most intriguing part of these leaf sculptures is that they are held together with thorns.

Autumn Fade

The leaves used in Autumn Fade are all natural colours. I had to look twice, wondering if some of them had been stained. After a wet summer the leaves are more vibrant than usual because of the extra sugars present. Read more about this piece here.

Leaf Spiral. Chestnut Tree leaves and thorns

Richard mentions that he copied Goldsworthy's leaf spiral in order to study the way that it is made. Read the blog post about it here. I think it is as complicated as it looks!

If you've enjoyed looking at Richard Shilling's work you might also enjoy the work of South African Land Artist, Strijdom van der Merwe, here.


  1. Thanks for the links! I was glad to see Richard Shilling note his Andy Goldsworthy influences/inspiration.
    I wasn't familiar with Strijdom van der Merwe and enjoyed seeing his work.
    Another land artist that fascinates me is Chris Drury - website (I think!)

  2. Jackie, yes Richard mentions Goldsworthy throughout his blog.
    Thanks for the Chris Drury link.

  3. Fabulous finds. Amazing and evocative work.

  4. wow - that's sooo amazing! I really, really like "Dam and Square" and "Frost Sun" A LOT!

    thanks for the links!

  5. So gorgeous! I've seen a picture here and there of his work, but never a nice collection all together as you've gathered here for us!! The influences from, and similarity to, Goldsworthy are clear (use of thorns to hold leaves together, gradating and using nature's palette), but I have to say, Shilling's sense of color takes it to another level. Thanks for the in depth intro!

  6. Wow! Such interesting and intriguing master-nature-pieces! I can't grow tired of these amazing artworks. I love every one!


  7. Amazing! This art is just so organic and comfortable with the elements.

  8. Brilliant, love the cairns, and the pebbles in the water and the dam..... Thank you Robyn

  9. of course, I thought of Andy too, man he musthate that.. but the magic here is the ephemeral part... to remind us we actually belong to nature.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful links with us! I’m always excited about your posts.

  11. You always have something nice to share! Thanks so much.

    I think self taught artists are amazing. It reaffirms to me that there are many ways to study art.

  12. Oh! Beauty...nature love....simplicity. Thank you for sharing these wondrous creations. I am fascinated by them all but the vertical stack and the leaf spiral are my favorites.

  13. My favorite is "Dam and Square" if it is possible to have a favorite...they are all so wonderful! Thank you, Robyn

  14. Yum. You always post such wonderful stuff Robyn.

  15. Patrice, I love it when I stumble upon something so amazing. Richard's land art really speaks to me.

    Michelle, great aren't they? I gravitate towards the rock, pebble and water pieces.

    Karin, there are so many more vibrant leaf sculptures on Richard's Flickr site and blog. I keep going back to look.

    Queeny, glad you are enjoying them.

    Thanks Pink Dogwood.

    Bindu, ditto!

    Jude, my pleasure. Half the fun is finding beautiful art like this.

    Grrl, you are right about that...annoying on one hand but a compliment on the other.

    B&W, thank you.

    Shayla, wonderful indeed!

    Jason, I havn't seen you in a while. Will pop over to your blog soon.

    Leanne, the leaf spiral looks as though a caterpillar or something is going to crawl out at any moment.

    Mary Ann, I keep changing my favourite. They are all so intriguing.

    Heather....and you always say such nice things :-)

  16. Robyn, thank you for sharing this beautiful art and letting me dicover another incredible artist... I love the patterns with the colored stones. Roxanne

  17. Oh Robyn, you continually define the words "eye candy".

  18. Thanks everyone for your very kind words.

    I have a couple of blogs that are under construction and the one linked in Robyn's post is the wrong one. My proper blog is and that has everything, is in the right format and is kept up to date. The one linked to here is a bit messed up and has most of the photos chopped in half! If anyone wants to follow it then please do as I don't have any followers yet!

    Thanks again everyone and especially Robyn, you've all made my year! :-)

    BTW. The leaf spiral is a blatant Goldsworthy copy. I was actually studying the exact way he made one, so the sculpture is not in the least bit original. Some of my other work is orginal (I hope) but not that one.

  19. My son and I are loving these! Thanks!

  20. every image a thrill and so inspiring!

  21. I love the title, "land artist". How wonderful. As is his amazing work. Thanks so much for the link. I do want to see more.

  22. Robyn, this work is just so beautiful...I have always been a fan of Andy Goldsworthy, so wonderful to see the work of Richard Shilling. Thanks for this post, just what my eyes needed to see. Jo :) xx

  23. Roxanne,I was surprised at the colours of the stones. Ours are more muted.

    Susan, I wanted to say the same thing about this work...eyecandy.....but it just didn't seem right for art from nature.

    Caroline, glad you like this post.

    Jeane, I thought you would think so.

    Pamela, you are in for a treat!

    Jo, natural art is very soothing isn't it?

  24. Hi Richard, I have changed that blog link to jrlandart. It's been a pleasure having your work gracing my blog. That's what is so great about blogging. It feels like I have my own art gallery that I can pop over to visit any time I like.

    The leaf spiral has a strange attraction for me. A sense of wanting to get closer to inspect it but bracing myself for whatever is going to jump out of it.

  25. Once I was with my friend Jeff and his son fishing. I don't fish myself but I watch other people fish as a form of meditation.

    "I hate fishing Dad, I want to go home and play video games."

    The boy threw a fit as I quietly stacked rocks on the spill way of the lake. When I had about 20 piles of rocks he stopped crying and looked at me.

    "What are you doing Uncle Bob?"

    "Oh, you wouldn't be interested in this."

    "Yes I would what is it."

    "It's art."

    The two of us stacked rocks till the sun went down.

  26. Thanks for introducing us to another wonderful artist.... Richard Shillings art is amazing!!! I love the pieces using the leaves, so intricate and fragile and then the strengh of 'vertical stack' and 'frost sun'.

  27. I am nominating you for the creative blog award. Please see my site for more information.

  28. Jacky, so fragile, yes. Thank goodness for digital cameras!They make it so much easier to create art like this.

    Debra, thanks so much for the award. I'm having trouble accessing your blog. Something about profile not being available to me.

  29. Robert, great story! Whenever i go fishing with hubby I spend all my time gathering rocks and pebbles.

  30. first i discovered chris drury, then andy goldsworthy and now, thanks to you, i have been introduced to richard shilling.
    the way his leaf curtain catches the light and sparkles is so amazing.
    i love the title picture of your work robyn. it is a close up and it is fascinating. please do show us more sometime.

  31. well, well, its all right here on your flickr pages. i am having a look now as i speak...

  32. These (and other works like them) are just so appealing to me in every way. So skillful, so beautiful, often so ephemeral. It's the kind of art I'd like to create if I were an artist. Thank you for showcasing it so beautifully.

    p.s. Thanks for the ginger drink recipe - I'm definitely going to try it!

  33. Good to meet you on Planting Words, Robyn. Isn't this stuff beautiful?

  34. so nice! i particularly like the stones!

  35. Thanks for the introduction to Richard and Strijdom, Robyn. These are marvellous

  36. Thanks again for sharing more inspiration, some people have amazing imaginations.

  37. Stunning series of images. The details are so intricate and they speak volumes of the effort that would have gone into creating these. Awesome

  38. Hi Robyn, I'm really late telling you how much I like these photos. I don't know WHERE you keep coming up with this stuff. You must scour the internet, but it's always interesting and thought provoking. Mostly, I want to say how much I like your new banner! Great photo of yours!

  39. Robyn, This man has vision. Thanks for exhibiting him here... I cannot pick favourites.. the beauty is everywhere!!

  40. Hi Robyn. Thanks for the great links to the land artists. I knew of Andy Goldsworthy and love his stuff but I will enjoy browsing the others when I sit down with a cup of coffee. I absolutely love those coloured pebble bars. Seems that nature is the best artist and inspirer of all of

  41. You find us the most magnificent and inspirational art to view - thanks!

  42. Mesmerizing! Another glorious post. Vertical stack wows me!

  43. Priya, it's very exciting work isn't it? The Leaf Curtain is so delicate and then you look at Autumn Fade and it gives you a completely different feeling.....quite a great python moving through the forest.

    Kendalee, next time you are at the beach try stacking rocks. I get such satisfaction out of it. No Shilling masterpieces of course but fun all the same.

    Fiona, beautiful indeed!

    Julie, me too!

    Avus, glad you like them.

    Ro, that is the most intriguing part.....such a wonderful imagination.

    T&S, imagine the numb fingers after lugging rocks in the cold.

    Thanks Katie.

    Gwen, my favourites change each time I look at them.

    Cathy, the pebble bars are just magnificent!

    Judy, my pleasure!

    Seth, you hit the nail on the head!

  44. I have always loved and been inspired by Andy Goldsworthy's art. How fabulous to be introduced to another land artist! That Vertical Stack is probably my favorite, although anything with leaves will always capture my heart. Awesome, Robyn.

  45. I was very confused scrolling down this post as I've seen Andy Goldsworthy do these pieces almost exactly (and some pieces on the blog); I was starting to think maybe he'd just changed his name!

    Glad to see that he considers the horn a 'blatant copy', but to my mind so many of the other pieces are too similar to Goldworthy's to merit something from me. I don't mean to be rude or discount Shilling's work (everything in art is legitimate) but...I don't know. For me, Andy got their first. I saw Goldsworthy's stuff about 15 years ago and he changed my world.

    What I don't doubt though is the meditation and connection to the earth Shilling must feel in creating these pieces- I messed about with some sticks in Goldsworthy style in the part not long after discovering him, and even that was transformative to the soul.

  46. Karine, amazing how he got the stack to hold together especially the first part.

  47. Little Brown Sparrow, Richard admits to copying Goldsworthy to learn how he creates his land sculptures. Though I have admired Goldsworthy's work for a while I don't know it well enough to recognize which of Richard's pieces are copies otherwise I would have chosen different pieces.

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  49. I have never made a secret of the fact that 99% of what I do is purely inspired by AG, and in many cases copied. Every single photo I have taken is tagged "Andy Goldsworthy homage", this fact is mentioned throughout my blog and everywhere else I post. I have never claimed otherwise or sought to mislead anyone. AG's work changed my world too (I discovered it only 4 years ago) and I wanted to just make some things for my own pleasure only. I've never made a penny from anything I have done, it is something I just like to do in my spare time and if others enjoy my pictures too then all the better. I have never studied art at any level or ever really done any (apart from music) so I come to this with no pretentions whatsoever. If you are interested in epehemeral land art it doesn't take too long to discover that AG (being the genius that he is) has covered so many bases in that field to the point where it is really very hard to be orginal, if the AG style is what you love and your subconcious is stuffed full of his images it is often the case that what you at first thought was original turns out to be yet another copy. I don't see how that could be any different. It's like studying the work of Einstein. A genius of course who came up with ground breaking, world changing theories but can you follow in his wake without being intimately intertwined in his thoughts, ideas and theories? I don't think it is possible to do that (certainly not straight away), you can't uninvent what went before and somehow forget it is there, especially when it is that very person who inspired you to take up any form of art in the first place. That said I started to dabble a little in land art only 3 years ago and in that time I have extensively studied and copied some AG's work purely because I enjoy doing it so much, and now as I feel that I have served and apprenticeship of sorts I feel my voice is starting to come through, but it is an ongoing struggle to try and find my own personality. I agree it would seem wrong if I was to claim all these ideas as my own and to try to portray to everyone that I am something that I am not, but I have intentionally never done that. There are plenty of land artists who are also inspired by AG's work who never acknowledge that fact publicly. It brings up the question that right across all artistic styles - how many people are truly original (AG is one)? And how many people are influenced and inspired by others? Truly orginal, pioneering visionary artists are few and far between. How often do artists admit to themselves and others that their work is copied/inspired/would not exist without the influence of one of these visionaries? Is everyone as honest about this as I am? Sure lots of my stuff is not even remotely original, but the reason that is so is because I have wanted to create a copy to make the pictures I see in an AG book come alive for my own sensory pleasure. I will see something whilst flicking through a tome and Think "I want to make one of those!" and so I do, and take some pictures to record what I have done, then save it to my journal. Nothing more

  50. I'm so glad you've replied Richard because you've given those of us who havn't read your blog some insight into what you are all about. Frankly I'm amazed you are not doing art full time. You are so obviously an artist of considerable talent and really should think of a way to make a living from it. Being able to scroll back to this post and see your work has given me such thrill. I know with out a doubt that this is the work you were meant to do.