Art meets science to create eye-catching field art

Exhibit shows a new category of literature, mixing art, poetry and ecology

Ashley Wadhwani, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

Baldwin on a field journaling trip in Kamloops on Jan. 25. Image courtesy W. Marc Jones

Baldwin on a field journaling trip in Kamloops on Jan. 25. Image courtesy W. Marc Jones

Lyn Baldwin’s field art is part of the force changing the perceptions and modern attitudes of the natural world. Not Just a Snapshot: The Thompson Drainage through Field Journal Art is Baldwin’s current exhibit on display at the Old Courthouse in Kamloops.

Field art is a combination of pencil and water-colour drawings and descriptions of different parts of the natural environment around us. Baldwin has been using field art to express her research and reflections of the natural world for over a decade.

Instead of writing a 5,000-word research paper on an ecological system, Baldwin creates hand-written and drawn journals that tell stories of the land around her without the scientific jargon that restricts the general public from understanding her work.

“Good works often come down to good stories,” Baldwin said, noting that the ecosystems around us are multifaceted and tell many stories, not just one. From these stories, Baldwin believes that the natural world is more than just the background of our lives, although that seems to be the modern perception.

Describing herself as a community ecologist, Baldwin said that her work “sings praise where we’ve forgotten to sing praise.” She added that “the practice of attending to the land can teach us a lot if we only stop to hear.”

For Baldwin, her field art has shared many internal reflections that have taught her about the idea of community. Baldwin has always viewed her youth as living on the margins of normal society, which has led her to always taking the minority position.

“When I look at my published works, they are community ecology papers, and I laugh. I realize in my personal life I am most comfortable occupying minority positions, and yet my professional life has been at the level of community concerns,” she said.

Keeping field art journals has become a part of Baldwin’s everyday life. With roughly 30 volumes of journals, it doesn’t look like Baldwin will be stopping anytime soon.

You can see Baldwin’s exhibit Not Just a Snapshot: The Thompson Drainage through Field Journal Art at the Old Courthouse until Feb. 1.