Environmental Dreams: Viewing the World Like an Astronaut – Day 269

Artwork: Five Valleys: Summer, Winter, Spring, Fall, Foggy by Pat Musick.
“Five Valleys: Summer, Winter, Spring, Fall, Foggy” by Pat Musick. Copyright © Pat Musick

Artists are deeply aware of the environment in which they live and create. For some, it is the energy of the world’s greatest cities that inspires their work. For others, it is the natural world – particularly the increasing fragility of this world as natural forces and human development threaten its existence.

Pat Musick is an environmental artist whose goal is to express the relationship between mankind and the environment and the tensions each exerts upon the other. The materials she uses are symbolic of this relationship: Stone, wood and beeswax reflect the natural world and steel, canvas and paper symbolize the world created by humans. “I search for resolution and reconciliation,” says Musick. “I find it in the process of rebirth and renewal. Through the natural world’s process of regeneration, I have learned that from adversity springs the opportunity for new beginnings.”

What inspired Musick to focus on the environment as the major theme in her work?

“I first became (more than a little) aware of the environment when my husband and I moved from urban Houston in Texas to the Ozark woodlands in 1982,” says the artist. “The valley we lived in for twenty-five years was 350 million years old. The view from our deck was one of receding meadows, cliffs, hills and sky intersected by a shimmering river.” (See “Five Valleys” – pictured at top of page.)

“In our first year in the Ozarks, we had a forest fire and a flood on our 100-acre property,” Musick continues. “I was devastated by the destruction. But a year later, as I walked through our woods, I became aware of the aftermath of the events. The epilogue. New life, beautiful, tender new growth began to spring from the forest floor, greener, healthier than the old had been. I was fascinated with the process and began a life-long study of our planet in all of its incredible processes. This became the driving force and overarching theme of my work.”

Artwork: Epilogue 19 by Pat Musick
“Epilogue 19” by Pat Musick. Copyright © Pat Musick

“My ideas come from two sources: dreams, or rather the awakening from dreams, and/or from a process of long thought and reflection that sometimes spans many years,” Musick says. “Once an idea arrives, it is usually pretty much full blown…that is, I see the image in my mind and proceed to carry it out.”

“Sometimes there will be a tweaking,” the artist continues, “but most of the changes have been accomplished in the early unconscious thought processes. One series usually morphs into the next so there is a continuity of the theme. My Earthnests, for example, are a simplification of the natural nests from a previous series. They are inspired by the way the earth is worn away by rain and wind and the hills and valleys are carved into simple lines and planes.”

Artwork: Earthnest 6 by Pat Musick
“Earthnest 6” by Pat Musick. Copyright © Pat Musick

“I also may go from the view from space to the view of a single tree, suspended in a void. But the earth and it’s preciousness informs both. As I am married to an astronaut, I have the good fortune to see the earth from his view – the ‘overview effect’ – and I am learning how all space travelers revere the planet and cry out for its protection.”

Artwork: Mesa by Pat Musick
“Mesa” by Pat Musick. Copyright © Pat Musick

Pat Musick’s exploration goes beyond the material world. “As we push, truly, out into the deep we stand on an evolutionary threshold as we respond to the Tertium Quid – something related to two things but distinct from both. We will never be quite the same again.”

Artwork: Black Space 4 by Pat Music
“Black Space 4” by Pat Musick. Copyright © Pat Musick

Perhaps it is this “view from above” that can take us outside our limited perceptions, offering us a global perspective that could change how we interact with our environment and each other in this world.  Pat Musick’s work presents the microcosm as well as the greater macrocosm, weaving together man and nature in our immediate surroundings within the context of the larger picture, inspiring us to act for the highest good of all.

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Pat Musick’s artwork can be viewed at: Pat Musick

Artwork: Hecuba by Pat Musick
“Hecuba” by Pat Musick. Copyright © Pat Musick

The 365 Days Project

In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.

Experience the full evolution of the project! Click below to read the entire collection of articles.
Click to view The 365 Days Project

Artist Credits for the images included in this post:

Five Valleys: Summer, Winter, Spring, Fall, Foggy
Pat Musick, Vermont
Steel, wood, acrylic, canvas

Earthnest 6
Pat Musick, Vermont
Steel, bronze, alabaster

Pat Musick, Vermont
Canvas, acrylic, stone, steel

Epilogue 19
Pat Musick, Vermont
Canvas, steel, stone, acrylic

Black Space 4
Pat Musick, Vermont
Pastel, collage, paper

Pat Musick, Vermont
Canvas, steel, stone

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