Sunday, October 17, 2010


Spring Forest by Andrew Wyeth. Website here.

Walking through forests, especially in the Drakensberg of KwaZulu Natal, is always a rejuvenating experience for me. Just recently I read an article in Science Daily about studies indicating the good effects of natural environments on one's nervous system.

Dr Eeva Karjalainen, of the Finnish Forest Research Institute says "Many people feel relaxed and good when they are out in nature. But not many of us know that there is also scientific evidence about the healing effects of nature."

Forest Remembered by Wen Redmond. Website here.

The article continues....

"Forests -- and other natural, green settings -- can reduce stress, improve moods, reduce anger and aggressiveness and increase overall happiness. Forest visits may also strengthen our immune system by increasing the activity and number of natural killer cells that destroy cancer cells.

Many studies show that after stressful or concentration-demanding situations, people recover faster and better in natural environments than in urban settings. Blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the level of "stress hormones" all decrease faster in natural settings. Depression, anger and aggressiveness are reduced in green environments and ADHD symptoms in children reduce when they play in green settings."

This doesn't surprise me at all. Read the whole article here.

Nils-Udo 4. Photograph by Dylan Wolfe. See Flickr photostream, here.

Whilst googling work by Land artist Nils Udo, I was delighted to stumble upon Dylan Wolfe's Flickr photostream and 639 photos .... yes 639 photos! .... of the behind the scene creation of Udo's Clay Nest. I've not seen such an amazing record anywhere else on the internet. Do yourself a favour and have a look, here.

"The photos are an archive I've been collecting in association with the Nature-based Sculpture Program of the South Carolina Botanical Garden. Some of the images are the actual portfolio shots taken upon completion of the project, while others were added to the collection by program staff, the artists, community members, and other people working on the archival project. We've started a website,, and are working on a book about the sculptures produced by the program." - Dylan Wolfe.

Nest in Red Clay by Nils Udo. Read about it here.

Tower by Nils Udo

Forest Spirits by Sedona artist, Deanne McKeown. Website here.

Palmsonntag. Mixed media by Anselm Kiefer. See more enlarged photos here.

Leaf Loot by Carolyn Saxby. See Carolyn's Flickr photo stream here and blog here.

Detail from The Book of Forests by Kathyanne White. See large photos of the Book of Forests, here.

Forest Walk by Nerine Tassie. See more of Nerine's work here.
Handmade artist's book by Catherine Nash. See more at the Conrad Wilde Gallery, here.
I found this Rene Menard quote in Catherine's artist statement.

".....I live in great density....Shelter lures me. I slump down into the thick foliage.... In the forest, I am my entire self. Everything is possible in my heart just as it is in the hiding places in ravines." - Rene Menard, Le Livre des Arb

The Forest by Ton Dubbeldam. See more of Ton's work here.


  1. magnifique post,les nids et la sculpture de l'artiste deanne mac k...

  2. Living in a forest area, I KNOW what you mean. Indeed I do.
    beautiful images. The first reminds me of woods in the UK.

  3. ~how breathtaking each piece you shared...we l♥ve being outdoors...the air sooths our soul and fills our spirit...being by the river seems to wash away all our anger and or fears...for me that is better than scientific proof...if one can feel the effects than it mush be something quite magical out there...hehehe...thank you so for sharing all of this with us...i do look forward to reading more of the article! warm wishes and brightest blessings~

  4. Oh Robyn you have done it again. Just being in the trees is a blessing, seeing the roots that hold so much history and feeling the cool greens of the leaves. It is so important to us all. Thanks for sharing such wonderful artists and their works, including yours. xox Corrine

  5. Its wonderful to be reminded of this of the most precious memories this year to date involved walking quite early in a rainforest area when everything was glistening and so fresh and the day just felt full of promise.
    Loved the beautiful words that went with all the fabulous images you have chosen here!

  6. What a wonderful post! Very beautiful and serene. I don't have much forest around where I live but I have always found peace from staring into the water. Very calming.

  7. I am not surprised by those findings either Robyn - nature is a healing balm for all that ails... What an amazing collection of images, artists, and quotes. Thank you for bringing them all together for us. This time of the year (especially here in the northeast U.S.), the forest is especially healing, inspiring, and appealing to me, as the colors change and preparation for the deep sleep begins.
    xoxo K

  8. Always love reading your blog, it is so inspiring. I recently made a journal from 'stuff', I found on the beach. If forests heal the soul, I am sure the sea does too.

  9. oh i just want to stay here all day :) i want to crawl into that branch nest....look up out at it all and smell the forest.

  10. The first and the last images are my favorites. The tree roots remind me of my childhood and the last image fascinates me with the way the color is applies as well as the composition of the piece.

    Sitting quietly outside and listening to the sounds of birds, wind rustling leaves and the burbling of water calms my soul. I'm sure it does wonders for my blood pressure. This is probably the reason so many choice landscape art for their homes.

    Beautiful post today!

  11. Thanks for sharing these lovely links, I love the trees and our nearby forest in Fougeres, it makes sense to me that we feel better outside of the cities. Best wishes Blu.

  12. Thank you so much for Nils Udo. His webpage images and the things he wrote truly increased a peace and quiet around me this morning.

    I love his work, am ashamed to say I have been on the Clemson SC campus many times and never knew of the red clay nest (if its still there). Its such an isolated little place. The biggest part of that campus is ironically and unfortionately a loud concrete nest--the football stadium; also known as Death Valley, deafening and towering.


  13. Thank you Robyn for a beautiful post. I am honoured indeed to be included among such artists. I whole heartedly agree with the sentiment in the article. I need to walk every day. I need the fresh air and birdsong. I need to look up at trees and touch bark and just soak up the atmosphere of the woodland and gardens just across the road from me. It is the best healer of all after a good sleep

    Thank you for a lovely post. Off to check out the links now ...


  14. oh robyn, this rene menard quote... and nils udo's land art. oh my. this post has me buzzing - and wanting to get off the computer so i can get out and wander in the woods.

    thank you...


  15. Amen. Walking the dogs each day down a forested path next to the river has not only helped lose all that weight, but has also helped me emotionally heal. Wonderful art and quotes as usual!

  16. This is the second blog post I have read about forests. It is that time of year when the leaves are turning, calling to us to come and enjoy ourselves amongst them. I took a picture of a tree on my husband's grandparents property. I plant to paint it. I hope I do it justice. I hope to do the same style as in the first picture you posted. This has been most encouraging. Have a great day.

  17. Beautiful work! I believe I am a forest person. I most enjoy to sit still in order to hear and see the life there.
    I enjoy your blog so much - thank you.

  18. Just spectacular. As you may have guessed my favourite place to be is in the woods :) thanks Robyn.Regards Dave

  19. Wonderful post! So inspiring. I agree about the effects of forest life on the human soul. No doubt in my mind. Thank you. Gilly

  20. well, now. udo. wow.

    and yes, destress in the greens. LOVED teaching my second graders in the great outdoors...such joy and discovery and minds oxygenated and cooking right along!!

  21. I loved this post, Robyn. I love forests of all types and am very lucky to live by a rainforest here in Malaysia - the sounds, sights and smells especially after a downpour are wonderful!

  22. it never fails to irk me,

    that the things we know in our bones,
    the things we know are true,
    don't seem to be officially true till some guy writes about it after an experiment.
    glad to know that experiencing nature is good for us.

  23. oh the TOWER.. amazing... I am in love with stone..
    ... and the crow on her shoulder.. very taken with them both.. Thank you Robyn, take care,

  24. too few people know the pleasure of standing quite still in a forest
    this post came close
    thank you

  25. When I moved here to the forest, I felt completely revived after 12 years in a small city. After my class came out for the environmental art day, several students said they felt "whole" again. Such healing in the green. Thanks for the article, I'll read it! And udo inspires me.....

  26. So true, about the outdoors. When I need to clam down- I go walking thru the woods, camera in hand, inspecting every leave, and bark. Or get the horse and go into the woods. Very calming.............great post again, as always!

  27. A forest holds so much inspiration for an artist to draw upon, these artworks prove that.
    Great post!

  28. Thank you for sharing
    This fabulous work with us
    Good creations

  29. Dear Robyn-I love the images you have picked here...the soothing balm of nature invigorates as well as soothes. Yes...walking in the forest, treading softly on Mother Earth and communing with the Earth a prayer and a thanks. xxx

  30. R - as always thanks for sharing - always someything to inspirwe all of us. Loved being reminded of Nils Udo's work given I love Andy Goldsworthy's work. B

  31. Hi Elfi, Deanne's work is magnifique, yes!

    HHnB, We have all types of forests here. Many are like the beautiful forests in the UK and close to our house is a Eucalyptus forest.

    Faerwillow, yes just spending time in these natural environments is proof enough. The stress just seeps away.

  32. Corrine, just thinking about walking through the forest .... next to a mountain stream ..... is uplifting.

    Sophie, the early morning walks are the best .... or after rain when everything smells earthy..... and at dusk :-)

    Wax Beach Artist, yes i agree, water has the same effect.

    Karin, I'm thinking of your garden which is like a little slice of natural forest.

    Caryl, I wrote a post a while back about moving water such as the sea, rivers or even fountains and bathroom showers. Negative ions in the water rejuvenate one immediately and just being at the beach feels therapeutic. Definitely food for the soul!

    Stevie, I imagine sitting under that huge oak tree in your garden is calming.

    Blu, your photographs of trees reflected in rain puddles are intriguing me at the moment.

    Mansuetude, if you ever wanted to find out whether the nest is still there I'm sure Dylan would be abkle to tell you. I've since posted a website link (in this post) to

    Carolyn, thank YOU. You have a knack for taking the most evocative nature shots.

    Lynne, now why did I think you would feel that way :-)

    Heather, I think one of the reasons we bought this house was because it is surrounded by hills and forests (not that i can see much in a built up area but I know its there) and I can hear the stream. It feels like home.

    Lisa at Greeenbow, looking forward to seeing your painting!

    Patricia G, thank you. I'm yearning to be back in the Drakensberg sitting in a forest somewhere, absorbing the beauty.

    Dave, I never "wood" have guessed :-)

    Thanks Gilly.

  33. Bicocolurs, thank you!

    Neva, thinking waaaaay back to my school days... I think the lessons in the outdoors are the most memorable.

    Caroline, I can imagine how wonderful your rainforest must be after a downpour. In fact I think I can smell it :-)

    Grrl, I take this sort of article as a reminder. Often we forget that all we need to do to de-stress is to go for a walk and feel the effects of nature..... and then wonder why we hadn't thought of it earlier.

    Gwen, oh the TOWER yes wonderful indeed!
    Deannes work as well! There are many other pieces with ravens at her website that you will love.

    India, so glad you enjoyed the post.

    Valerianna, your forest came to mind whilst i was compiling this post.

    Oogleboops, taking the camera does help you to focus on the tiny details. I found I was looking at it from a completely different perspective.

    Thanks Azirca.

    SKIZO, thank you.

    Soraya, a prayer and a thanks .... I like that!

    Barry, the more I look at land art of this standard, the more I am totally taken with it. It's an amazing as part of the environment .... settling back into the earth ... or not... but the photographs live on.

  34. thanks for that link!

    am sure its still there, I on the other hand am on the other side of the Carolina's now. Mountains vs the ocean.

    the link has great videos of more sculpture with artists using the students to help make them, love that!

    Would be great to see a whole forest walk of your beautiful totems set into the woods.

    big thanda.

  35. Hi Robyn I love Nils Udo's work. I'm so glad you chose to write about it. P.S. My blood pressure dropped 30 points when we moved to the Shady Grove. I highly recommend it!

  36. All the research findings make sense to e.e.cummings says " its always ourselves that we find at the sea" That always happens to me in the woods... I love the Wyeth painting, its mesmerizing...thanks for sharing these artists!

  37. Robyn, I admit I haven't been here for a while...due to too much "tohuwabohu" all around
    But it does me so much good to visit this page!
    Forest is the best!!!!
    My all-time favourite.
    And the art you're showing is amazing.
    I'm very attracted by the forest-book of Catherine Nash!!

  38. I needed some time to look at so many beautiful fotographs.
    From now on I wil do one day beach and one day forest.
    Question of staying healthy ;-)

  39. I live on a cliff overlooking water, but have mini forests around me and short hiking trails down to the beach and even though I can still hear the cars whooshing by on the nearby highway, I can't see them and so I can easily block out all that white noise and walk through the woods and look at all the textures of the moss, and brambles and fallen logs and stumps.. and move into another world of peace and quiet beauty-- you have certainly found wonderful artists here who have captured those feelings.

  40. It was really neat to discover Wen Redmond, Robyn! Of course, all these other artist finds are a treat too...almost witchy with Nils-Udo4. there. I'm reminded of some of the effigys from the Blair Witch project (which I loved!). And Kathy White's book of forests just blew me away! OMG, how do you do that? You're an absolute genius when it comes to finding the muses.

  41. Robyn,

    This is a much needed post in the midst of the mud slinging of the pre-election season here in the US. I've long been in love with Andy Goldsworthy's work and recently discovered another artist out of North Carolina, Patrick Dougherty:
    Here in CA, I love taking walk along the green belts in my neighborhood, which while not forests, are designed to to feel as if you're in the foothills of the Sierras with blooming sage and manzanita and alder. Just typing this makes me BREATHE deep!

  42. Mansuetude, a forest of totems ....mmmmmmm

    Chris, no surprise that your life at Shady Grove is replenishing.

    Lrc, glad you enjoyed the post.

    Uschi, yes Catherine's book is awesome isn't it?!

    Wim, your island intrigues me, as do your photographs.

    Donna, from looking at your photos on your blog I can see you live in the most beautiful setting.

    Debrina, I'm so glad you followed the link to Kathy's Forest book. It needs to be seen.

    Hannah, .... and just preparing this post was rejuvenating.

  43. I hugged my first tree when I was a child. I didn't know there were others until much later. I gain new perspectives and insights when I take my soul out for an airing. Be-ing in nature anchors me.

  44. Forests- yes; healing- yes,; reduces stress- I believe that completely, and have experienced it many many times. Maybe it's a Taurus thing, but in the forest I feel I'm at home...

    To all this, I say Amen Sistah! :)