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Dec. 5 global soil painting competition illustrates soil’s vital role

By mixing soils with water and clear gesso, a liquid binder, Kirsten Kurtz creates unique paints similar to acrylic that retain the quality and texture of the soil. Here she touches up a painting she made with soils in Bradfield Hall. Photo by Matt Hayes / College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The finished painting from 2015 World Soil Day community soil painting project organized by Kurtz.

The finished painting from 2015 World Soil Day community soil painting project organized by Kurtz.

Reposted from CALS news [2017-11-28]:

The soil under our feet may not be top of mind, but it provides the foundation for everything we need to live – and it’s disappearing. Kirsten Kurtz is on a mission to save this essential resource by turning our attention to its natural beauty.

Kurtz, manager of Cornell’s Soil Health Testing Laboratory and a graduate student in the field of natural resources, does this in a profound way: by painting with it.

“You can see how I became inspired,” she says, pulling out soil samples ranging in hue from reddish brown to tan to yellow ochre. “It was being in the lab and seeing all the colors come in.”

By mixing soils with water and clear gesso, a liquid binder, she creates unique paints similar to acrylic that retain the quality and texture of the soil. Kurtz, who first started experimenting with soil painting in 2014, says it’s an effective tool for communicating with the public about the importance of soil.

And thanks to her creativity, the whole world will get the message on World Soil Day, which will feature a global soil painting competition Dec. 5 organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The competition, inspired by an event Kurtz and the Soil Health Lab hosted in 2015 for World Soil Day, aims to showcase creativity in illustrating soil’s crucial role in sustaining life.

Read the whole article.

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