While reading the new ‘LandArt book’ Expeditie Land Art it occurred to me that magical word empty, in Land Art.
On page 89 you find the start of a description of the writers visit to Lightning Field from Walter de Maria.
What Walter achieved with this piece of Land Art is to create the experience of an empty field, a field which will stay empty for many generations to come.
Most fields will not achieve that, that immense feeling of emptiness.



A filed is never truly empty, bare, blank, deserted there is something always something. YET, it can give you that feeling of being purposeless, meaningless never unfinished.
Walter de Maria made sure to preserve that feeling in the whole of the creation and preservation of his work The Lighting Field.

People will say and did say this is no art but than was it his purpose to create art or was it to preserve a landscape on the brink of disappearing of this planet.
Due to his planting of metal rods you now can visit this place with just 5 others alone without; phone, tv, radio, books, magazines, internet for at least 24 hours to experience empty, silence, idle, clear vision.

Everything in our lives has some kind of monetary value yet the most important aspects of life appears to us free of any charge. It will not be for long and than when it is gone perhaps than we realise what we have sold.

i can see you

can you see



Forest Museum

At times people see gardens as museums for special plants, perhaps we can see the forest as a place for special trees.
While we wander around the forest remembering fairytales, wondering gnomes under our feet, a distant call of the fluttering bird, do we see what it could be.

Alan Songfist did.
Making art by planting trees in the shape of that or perhaps that other fluttering bird.
An amazing piece of art hidden for the human eye yet clearly seen by bird-eyes.

Land Art Forest hidden beauty

hidden forest

An other fantastic piece of work from Alan Songfist is “Time LandScape” again made with trees, situated in New York City.

Agnes Denes is an other land artist who created forest art, with a more hidden message of ‘this will never be sold’.

How about a cathedral made with living trees, well more than one person had that idea but like paintings no Land Art is the same.
Whipsnade Tree Cathedral is a 9.5 acres cathedral created and planted by Mr Edmond K. Blyth, starting in 1932 long before the land art movement came along.

The Tree Cathedral by Giuliano Mauri is made with hidden trees as in each column a young Beech tree is growing. The columns are made with branches and sticks woven into a structure which is more than just a tree protector.

The Green Cathedral “De Groene Kathedraal” made with Birch trees not to last forever but leaving a lasting memory of trees on the new created land in the Netherlands.
Marines Boezem was born just 2 years after Mr. Blyth started to plant his green cathedral.

Land Art Forest hidden drop


From the ‘Green Cathedral’ it is a short drive to go to “Het MuseumBos” where you can find several pieces of land art created with trees.

Land Art Forest will not be a new idea but than who made the first painting? How many paintings did follow?
Lets wish we create just as many Land Art Forests as we created paintings.



Land Art Conversation

The Land Art ‘movement’ never wrote a manifesto like other art movements. You can therefor find as many different definitions of Land Art as there are land art artists.

Land Art Poetry 'Crack'

Land Art Poem

The following definition inspired me into a new thinking in 2009:
“Land Art is a conversation with nature/landscape, questioning our (human) relationship with the land and nature, to articulate the experience of landscape and nature.”
Perhaps the conversation between me and nature became literal, in the meaning of actual, by writing with and in the landscape the feelings it aroused in me.

Land Art Poetry

There were it happens


An other much used definition comes from ‘Ben Tufnell’ in his book ‘Land Art’ :
– Land Art is the use of art to enact or articulate a direct, non-pictorial engagement with landscape and nature, or to re-order our response to place, landscape or nature.
The photos here are the documentation of the art but not the Land Art.
When you look at both definitions you see the word articulate, which means so much as expressing oneself ‘clearly’ or speaking ‘clearly’.
Expressing oneself has everything to do with putting in words or show an emotion.
Words do disappear like nature these days.


the disappearing of words



My response: Nature does not discriminate what has made the land/ground, it doesn’t matter if mining or termites or even earthquakes made the ground. Constant change is a main principle, once gone nature comes back different.
As Land Art urges us to RE-examen our relationship with landscape and nature. Can we re-create landscape/nature or is it once gone, never come back?


Land Art Poetry Trail



I wanted to find out if we can re-create nature within a man made landscape.
To do this I had to let go of box thinking; culture, wild, environmentalism all belong to a box with a certain label. Human-made can be nature. The Land Art should not become moralising and certainly not a new box with attached new labels.

In this way I made ‘Vagdavercustis’ by having a conversation with nature and the landscape. I Re-examine my own relationship with nature and the landscape, seeing what we articulate, express put into words can become nature.



LOPE not loop


If we walk or if we drive we see and experience landscape.






FOREST   land art

Why making a forest as land art?
The answers lay with the trees, not just their beauty, strength, adaptability but:

Tree clean the air from dust, co2, important as we know.

FOREST Air cleaners



Trees help with the water management on this planet, while we turn and turn around.
By all means trees are the best in using solar energie.


FOREST water



Trees provide food, wood, shelter and do i need to say more.



TOREST hidden beauties



The hidden beauties, the shelter, all for us to discover in their small corners.

Therefore creating a forest is more than planting a bundle of trees.

It makes it possible for us to give something back to nature, to create a gift for nature.
The FOREST will become Community Art for nature.



juggle Forestry

how old farmland became new

The land art projects on the land at Clegyr Boia, Wales enact an illustration, model for The Land Art Forest.
On 25 November 2002 me, doggy Stamper and my chickens moved from The Pumpkin Shed Walled Garden to 6 hectare (16 acres) of land at the foot of Clegyr Boia.
Clegyr Boia is a rock which was one of the first settlements in Wales.
Farmers had used the land for centuries and the last years in a very intensive way, leaving the soil bare and tired. The above photo shows the land under plastic covering for the growing of early potatoes. Some of that plastic, most likely, is floating around somewhere in the plastic soups of the oceans.

just the beginning

The idea behind this project was to create a balance between nature and culture, with Land Art.
The best way to describe it would be: ‘recreating nature with culture’.
So many people express their doubts, giving me advice, but i had my own ideas. On the small field (photo above) i would experiment with my own ideas. On the other fields i worked together with conservationists.
The first year i thought many times, this is never going to work as i discovered how sad the soil was.
The land lays on a peninsula exposed to the salty coastal-winds which dried the land out in the summer and in the winter the land stood exposed to rain which washed lots of soil down the drain.


I started by creating circles, one large circle in the middle surrounded by 9 smaller circles. Each circle told a story with plants about the surrounding landscape.
The whole had an embracing hedge which i planted with bare root shrubs and trees.
Many different trees and shrubs were planted to see which one would perform the best under these circumstances.
Well, except for one they all survived.


The above shows the progress in one circle called Gossamer. In the first year the poor wild roses just hanged in there, 2 years later the lovely driftwood stick had to be placed onto  a log to stick her head above the roses.
The stones in the middle came all from the land, bucket by bucket i got them while seeding.
In 2008 the rocks had to be placed on a high pile to make space for the roses and 4 years later i had to prune the roses to make space for the rocks.

seeding heather

If you look closely on the photo you see a small green wheelbarrow filled with heather cuttings.
Next to it i stand with a lovely job to chuck the cuttings in the air for random landing.


the result



The top field has lots and lots of stones, large and small, all over the soil and in the soil.
The farmers used to remove the rocks with a machine before seeding, only to plough more up a season later.
The field lays on a slope which did help the rain to wash a lot of soil down.
Therefore we chose this field to be returned into a heather field.
Yes, it was hard work but the result made it all good.
This field was created together with the help of conservationists.

It shows that we can give back to nature what others took/take away from nature. It is so wonderful to see how a site recovers and how nature enters where it once was forced out.
The chemical residue was high, intensive agriculture does not tolerate nature at all and use a large selection of chemicals to spray it out of existence.
Yet, it returned in all her glory in not a long time scale and with limited costs.

heather nectar


I can tell you so much more about this and i will, the message i want to give here is how nature does recover and how trees grow against all odds.



Bies Forest

You can find the beginning of the ‘Land Art Forest’ in the ‘BiesBosch’, which means the forest of Bies (common club-rush).
This area stands central for the land art, first as an example how we can give back and how we can recover nature. Second as this is the breeding ground for a lot of my thinking.

How it used to be

The changing of this area over the years has been to say the least, dramatic. The area was created by St. Elizabeth’s flood of 1421. Due to war and the rush for profits the dykes were neglected therefor on 18 November 1421 the water broke through and the area became an inland sea/delta.
Nature used the rivers to create land again with silt, bit by bit water became sandbank, sandbank became silt plate, silt plate became swamp with reed and rush and finally meadow.

The BiesBosch became an important fishing area, in 1910 thousands of salmon were caught in a year, yet 23 years later the salmon fishery was finished due to overfishing. The same goes for the ‘Steur’ (sea Sturgeon) a big fish which was used for the caviar. In 1900 438 Steur were caught in the BiesBosch and in 1925 just 3.
The land was used for hunting, there were several Duck decoys used to shoot Ducks in large numbers. This came also to an end and the income of the landowners came from the harvest of Willows and Rush, and cattle from the meadows.

Willows are used to make clogs

Even it was cultivated land it was rich in wildlife due to the swampy character and the dangers due to the tidal difference of 2 metres. A knowledge about the area was needed to wander around.
The best way to visit was by canoe all them small creeks with growth all over it due to neglect as the market for Willow and Rush had dropped thanks to the cheap plastic, which is still today cheaper than Willow.
It looked like a jungle in my childhood memories with lots of birds and filled with adventures.

water reservoir

no comment

All this came to an abrupt end when the Haringvliet was closed to protect Holland from the sea and to stop flooding from happening again.
A flood once created the BiesBosch now flood-prevention killed the BiesBosch.
There was only 20 centimetre difference between low and high water, the water became still and dead. Botulism moved in and many birds and fish died and several people were infected.
Straight after the dam came the reservoirs for water, 3 big concrete basins to store water. Not that we didn’t have enough rain but because the rivers became too polluted to give safe drinking water for the big city of Rotterdam.
A nature area of a total of 693 hectares (1712 acres) of land came under concrete basins filled with water in 1973.
3 Years later biologist from the TU Delft gave a public speech about how it should be different this was for me the turning point perhaps better a starting point that we can and should do it different.

Nature and culture can go together, you don’t need to make a choice. While i spread my wings to discover the world and study, the fight for the BiesBosch went on.
The result is fantastic. In the seventies a big turning point was created by them environmentalist which many of us have forgotten. GreenPeace and the Friends of the Earth made a big impact on decisions and companies had to stop pumping their poison into the rivers. Slowly the rivers became cleaner, we still have a long way to go but progress is made.
Clean rivers bring better water quality to the BiesBosch and better land management created new nature.

BiesBosch back to life

life back into the BiesBosch

It didn’t stop there, people started to care more and more, so the politics started to change according very slowly, as politics always do moves slowly.
The people at the BieBosch however didn’t sit still and waited, they worked hard to create changes to reintroduce wildlife back into the area.
The BiesBosch became a National Park in 1994 many land parcels were given back to nature. It is back to a delta were rivers can overflow preventing floods elsewhere, showing how nature can help.
Climate change brings more and heavier rain to our land, don’t forget around two/thirds of the land in the Netherlands is under sea level.
Once they wanted to get rid of the Willows now they are a respected part of the landscape.

Land Art in the BiesBosch

Land Art is a part of this nature regeneration where culture meets nature and shakes hands. The Moon Spiral  made by land artist Paul de Kort, a brilliant piece to walk and enter nature, proves this.
There are more plans to give land back to nature to change agriculture land into nature. It doesn’t even stop there, the dam at the Haringvliet will be opened permanently to let the fish back in. It took politics 14 years to finally realise that this is a good idea. In the meantime the Sea Sturgeon has been reintroduced into the rivers after more than 65 years  they swim perhaps back into the BiesBosch.

It just shows so clearly, that we can make a difference and that a long fight do give results, we can give back to nature and enjoying it. When we help nature we help ourselves.
On the moment the Land Art Forest is just in her baby shoes, not much more than a creative idea.
It will be a hard battle to see how a group of people can own it and how we can prevent it from being sold ever.

For now I am looking for people who like to be involved and who want to help. In the next series of blocks you can read about the lessons learned from other Land Art projects i did. The Land Art Forest will benefit from all them lessons.
The blog will be written in English next to this a book will be written in Dutch. The idea is that people can use this to create their own Land Art Forest where ever they are in the world.
For now the focus is on a Land Art Forest in Portugal and in Holland. Both forests will have to deal with extreme weathers and both will be used to regenerate nature by people themselves.

In the end the blog will share lots of information about products that will help, together with which trees can be planted best.

trees feed

Please feel free to share.


land art forest


a drop in the ocean

The photos will always be related to LandArt, documenting that vanishing moment in LandArt. It comes as no surprise to go from a photo back into LandArt.

The organisers of the exhibition ask me to give a talk about my work at Clegyr Boia in Wales. How can a drop relate to 6 hectare of land, perhaps the feeling of really being just a drop in the oceaan while you know you should be so much more than a drop.
The little feed the big and the big feed the little, we forget, we give up before we start, feeling so little among the so big.
All them little drops form an oceaan, without a drop no oceaan. Remember, many little create a big.

mushroom power

LandArt alters the landscape, sometimes just a moment, sometimes forever. The artists have a dialoog with nature in a landscape and from that dialoog flows a sculpture which alters that landscape.
They add something to the landscape or they intervene in the landscape or they act in the landscape.

a shape at the edge

The LandArt at Clegyr Boia became a landscape. The lessons learned there on that plot of land act as a basis for the next piece of LandArt. A concept that will be used for several pieces of LandArt, all around the world.
So the photo exhibition will be the onset for something much bigger than a drop in the oceaan.
Trees will play a major role as they always play a major role in so many different landscapes. Trees are the backbone of a landscape.

Tree Flag

Learning from past mistakes, learning from past failures, moving into achievement.
A book will be written about the experience at Clegyr Boia with at the end how to move them experiences into an achievable LandArt Forest.
The notebooks came out of the cupboard, photos are searched and gathered an idea takes shape.
Research starts, into books, newspapers and internet to make the idea grow.
While writing about the past contacts are made for a network of people and organisations to add onto that base of a forest.
New notebooks come into action and in November there will be more than just a drop in the oceaan.
The exhibition has been moved to November 2018 at Alcoutim in Portugal.
To create time.

distance looking