Although I'm far from being a rugged, outdoorsy type, I do like spending some time outside when the weather allows it. There's something so soothing about being in nature. Several studies have shown that spending time in nature has a lot of positive effects on our physical and mental well-being. Researchers at Stanford found that a group of volunteers who walked through a green part of the campus were significantly more attentive and in better moods than a second group who had spent the same amount of time near heavy traffic. Amongst city-dwellers, scientists also found that people living in close proximity to a park or other green area were much less likely to develop psychological issues (particularly stress-related ones) than those who lived in predominantly urban settings.
What I'm trying to say here is that nature is a beautiful thing, and we should all do more to spend more time surrounding ourselves with it and appreciating its beauty. For 59-year-old Scottish sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy, doing exactly that has become his life's work. Using leaves, ice, rocks, twigs, and anything else he can lay his hands on in a natural setting, he creates beautiful works of art. Many of his pieces are temporary - he creates them, documents them, and then leaves them to be reclaimed by nature again - but he has also done some larger, more permanent installations as well.
Goldsworthy grew up in a rural setting, and says that his experiences of farm work as a child prepared him well for the often repetitive toil it takes to make one of his incredible works of art. Another challenge he faces is his use of organic materials. Not only does that often involve being out in inclement weather and wading through icy bogs, it also means that he has to piece together his work bit by bit, without the luxury of having pre-built parts that fit perfectly.
There's something oddly contemplative and soothing about Goldsworthy's creative process, and I'd say it transfers over to the viewer when looking at one of his works. Have a look below and you'll see what I mean.