Happy Earth Day! I have always been preoccupied with the health of our planet. And feeling helpless to do anything about it is a terrible feeling. I do my average American best to recycle, reuse, conserve water, use non-damaging products, etc. But compared to the issues our world faces, my tiny contribution is nothing. So I do what I do and make art to express my thoughts.
I have made so many images of Earth over the years. You can see my evolution as an artist and experiments with media though these images. Above is my first and only attempt at scratchboard. I think it's from 5 or 6 years ago.
Here's a photo of one of my very early pieces that's hanging at my mother's house. I used to collect different colored dirt, and using glue I'd make dirt paintings on wood. This one even has some gold leaf on the words Divinity and the stars. I don't have a full photograph of this piece, just this artsy one I took last time I was visiting my mom.
Above is the same quote in a stamp and mixed media experiment. A long time ago, I got this book The Home Planet edited by Kevin W. Kelley. It has influenced me so much and made me want to make my own book about Earth. This big book of photos and quotes from astronauts, cosmonauts, and other space explorers is from 1988!!!! Isn't that incredible that a compilation could have been made so long ago? We humans have been in space for a long time already. If you can get your hands on this book, do. The quotes are the most precious thing to me. These people who left our planet and came back had very insightful and touching things to say about it. Many beautiful coffee table books have been made about Earth since, but none is as wonderful as this book, in my opinion. I wish someone would remake it with newer material but the same concept. Oh, and if you want, I'll tell you about the compilation book I want to make…….
Here is a little boy sleeping in my sketchbook of many years ago.
This is a card image that I made while learning Adobe Illustrator about 10 years ago.
This is an early linocut of our home. I like comets, too! I think I could draw comets all day.
Here is my next attempt at a linocut of Earth. Early on, I realized I couldn't ever duplicate the delicacy, richness, and detail of our world. So I didn't even try. Instead, I was trying to find an interesting graphic way to show the world and surrounding space.
Above is a test I did trying to figure out how to do a multi-color linocut with text, either carved text or letterpress. I was never able to make the piece, but it evolved into it's own picture book dummy over time.
Here is the first linocut for the dummy Home. I wound up changing the style and text a bit so this didn't make it into the current version. I still think its a nice image on its own, though.
And here's a more recent version of our home from the same picture book dummy.
And if you are familiar with my work you've seen these before. They are the 9 views of our planet that I made for a hand-bound book titled Earth.
Here is the cover made of cut and painted wood.
And a view of the painted linocuts mounted onto black Somerset Velvet paper.
This book is listed in my Etsy shop right now for half off. You may not be about to save the Earth by yourself, but at least you can save money. And think about our gorgeous planet while holding a hand-made book.
I saved the best picture for last- isn't it beautiful?!! I am so glad that I live in a time period when I can see photos of the entire world set against space. The only thing that would be better would be to be up there looking down and that's just not going to happen.
If you love pictures of our world, check out the NASA website and follow Terry Virts on instagram from the International Space Station.