Art on the Bog: Flanders Moss and Forth Valley Art Beat

Today’s blog is written by our Flanders Moss National Nature Reserve (NNR) manager, David Pickett. He describes a fantastic art event taking place on the reserve, as part of the Forth Valley Art Beat, Central Scotland’s Open Studios and Art Event.

Artist Fiona Clasen’s artwork at Flanders Moss, as part of Forth Valley Artbeat

“How about spending the afternoon visiting a bog?”. For many people this would not represent an entertaining afternoon – but the chance to go to an art gallery for the afternoon might be much more appealing.

And so in this way, the Flanders Moss bog gallery was born. With the lure of fine art, many people who might never normally have set foot on a bog have now visited the Moss and enjoyed the art on the reserve’s boardwalk and viewing tower.

This month, the NNR team have just hung their fourth exhibition as part of the Forth Valley Artbeat  – the Forth valley open studio and art event. The previous two exhibitions have showcased the results of projects with local schools, with one focusing on curlews and the other on botanical illustrations of bog plants.

But the art this year is a bit different. Last autumn and spring, working within lockdown restrictions, the NNR team took five intrepid local artists for a hike far out onto Flanders Moss – to places that very few people manage to get to due to the difficult terrain.

Graham Tristram’s Crossing Flanders VI, part of the art exhibition at Flanders Moss until 16 August.

The idea was for the artists to experience and bring the inaccessible middle of the moss to visitors with their resulting artwork. Despite the challenges of hard walking, long days, not many dry places to sit and a landscape with less structure than most, the artists rose to the challenge and produced some fantastic works, each illustrating the extreme landscape of Flanders with their own take on the colours, setting and feel of this special place.

Once the art works were completed, the pictures were copied, laminated to take the weather, framed and placed on the boardwalk or in the viewing tower. Showing the artwork close to its origins and in the open air enables each piece to have a a wonderful effect – quite different from if you viewed the artwork indoors.

The viewing tower at Flanders Moss, where some of the artwork is displayed – as well as a stunning view!

The bog gallery will be open for all to see until Monday, 16 August. If you visit to view the art work, don’t forget to look out for some of the bog inhabitants at the same time. Sundews, lizards and dragonflies can all be seen while walking on the boardwalk. But if you take friends, perhaps just tell them they are visiting an art gallery!

To follow the happenings at Flanders Moss NNR and other NatureScot Central Scotland NNRs, read the Stirling NNRs blog at 

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