The ominous-looking clouds have been particularly common in the Plains states of the United States, often during the morning or midday hours following convective thunderstorm activity.Â These clouds are not considered a precursor to severe weather, rather appear to form following rain or thunderstorm activity.
Andrew Clemens (1857-1894) was an artist from Dubuque, Iowa but spent most of his life in nearby McGregor. At the age of five Clemens was stricken with encephalitis that left him completely deaf and nearly mute.
At age 13 Clemens began experimenting with sand art, collecting multicolored sands from Iowa’s Pictured Rocks region. He fashioned special tools made from pieces of hickory and fish hooks that he used to arrange the sand in intricate designs. Clemens did not use glue in his artwork, relying on the pressure of the tightly packed surrounding grains to keep his artworks intact. Once an artwork was complete, Clemens would back the jar tightly and seal it.
Clemens had a remarkable ability to break down images and render it grain by grain with each piece of sand akin to a pixel of a digital image. He is thought to have produced hundreds of bottles during his lifetime but few survive today.
To see more of Andrew Clemen’s fantastic artwork, there’s a Facebook page with a nice collection of images. There is also a list of 23 artworks (with descriptions and images) that were sold through Cowan’s Auctions that can be viewed here.
Mosaiculture is an excellent art form for those among us with the green thumbs and the space to do it. An excellent example of this complex but beautiful artistic process would be the “Imaginary Worlds” mosaiculture exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens – these elaborate and massive green structures create mystical and fantastic worlds that are lush with living foliage.
There is more to these amazing works of living art than meets the eye. Most of them begin with a steel frame of some sort, which is covered with steel mesh. This mesh is then covered with sphagnum moss and soil, which is seeded with all sorts of plants. Underneath the mesh, a network of irrigation channels supply water to the plants on the surface, helping them grow.
These amazing green structures seem to rise out of the earth and plants around them. And because the plants they are made from are living, they always stay green and fresh. Obviously, because of the textures and shapes that can be created with moss and low-growth plants, many of these structures lend themselves to organic forms, mimicking people or animals. The largest of them all, Earth Goddess, is 25 feet tall and is a permanent piece at the garden.