"We are the elements. We are all made of stardust - and within us flows all the elements of nature. We are all connected." We all come from and will return to the stable and constant Earth. Join with me for a moment in the grounded reality of this final element of art in my series. Sit firmly, dig your heals in and weigh in on this unyielding element in art.
When we think of Earth our minds conjure up images of terrestrial plains, underworlds, mountains, long stretches of sand, rocks, crops, and red dirt (for us local Sedonians). We imagine being grounded and firm, steadfast and immovable. But in a flash we can also envision mud slides, earthquakes, molten lava and shifting sands. This fantastic element can be cool, hard, soft, hot, solid, abrasive, and can even represent life and death. The Earth is a powerful element, strong and true - eternal; lasting; heavy.
It's quite easy to find a physical use for earth in art. We could effortlessly imagine mixing clays, soils and concrete. We could feel the cool mixture in our hands as we mix pigments or press our fingers into mud. We could look to great and monumental works of art such as those found in Egypt, or at Mount Rushmore, and Easter Island. We could imagine the melting of sand to create glass, the crafting of pots from clay and the fantastic sand art we’ve created as children (and adults!). The Earth can take many forms by itself and also with the help of the other physical elements.
How do you use Earth in your art? Do you sculpt and mold or carve and chisel? Do you melt and pour or dip and mix? Do you spread thick with a knife or hammer gold leaf? Anything you do with your art has the element of Earth within it. Each brush, canvas and tool was created or forged from the matter we know as our home. The four elements we find in our art can be symbolic, literal and combined to produce a sense of connected wonder. We can mix and blend the elements to share the smallest parts of our souls in everything we create.
The Earth can also represent death; the end; the symbolic afterlife. Humanity’s greatest fear and most glorious hopes lie in what might follow the absolute end, our final breath. Ashes to ashes they say, but transcendence is what we long for. But for now, imagine hard clay under your feet and know that one day you will rejoin this powerful element and become one with all that was and is today.
We are all made of stardust and within us flows the elements of nature. Our art, our breath, our lives are all connected by them. We are united by Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and the art and dreams we share with each other. Think beyond the physical elements when sharing your art and song with the world. Connect with each element and the people of the world.
Remember: grow; learn; conserve; preserve; create; question; educate; change; and free your mind.
About: Kelli Klymenko is an artist, a faculty member and the Marketing & Events Coordinator at Sedona Arts Center: a gathering place where artists can learn, teach, and exhibit their works at the center’s School of the Arts and Fine Art Gallery in uptown Sedona.