Images: Sharon Field, The Scrolls: 3,000 days…and counting (details) pen, archival ink and watercolour on watercolour paper, commenced 26 March (Earth Day) 2022, ongoing until Earth Day 2030.

The Scrolls: 3,000 days...and counting

After a long career in the Australian Public Service, including many years living and working in Papua New Guinea as well as on humanitarian programs in Africa and the Pacific, in 2009 Sharon Field left her job to become a full-time artist. Having also served for 20 years as a volunteer firefighter protecting Ngunnawal and Ngambri lands (also known as the area around Canberra, the location of Australia’s Federal Government), Sharon was acutely aware of the interconnected, cascading global climate and biodiversity crises.

Haunted by visions of distressed ecosystems and confronted by the United Nation’s IPCC 2021 Report referencing the science—and the scale of work that needs doing to transition to zero emission energy systems and draw down excess carbon from the atmosphere before 2030—Sharon counted the days: 3,000.

As an award winning botanical artist wishing to engage as many people as possible to join her in doing everything in their power to halt the destruction and begin healing local and global ecosystems, Sharon set herself a challenge; to make a drawing or painting every day for the next 3,000 days.

Starting on 26 March (Earth Day) 2022, and aware of the medium’s classical references, Sharon chose scrolls to “tell a story that would have a lasting visual impact”.

I have now completed more than 750 images, each of which is numbered, dated and described with its botanical and common names, and each has a small story attached to it. This information [ie place-based stories] is recorded in an accompanying book.

One plant a day is drawn directly onto the paper – no preliminary pencil sketches are done. The nature of the scroll means that I cannot plan the placement of each plant. I do one drawing after the other using a fine point black pen, holding archival ink. The colour is watercolour, which is painted over the pen.

Every day I am looking around, often guided by others, for a new plant to draw.

Sharon Field, March 2024

A stunning, active, archival artwork of extraordinary beauty, Sharon’s Scrolls are deeply moving and inspiring. They invite viewers to connect with how they feel about what is at stake from the Climate Emergency and the ongoing disinformation campaigns by those largely responsible for it; fossil fuel energy companies and their financial and political allies.

Sharon’s Scrolls are a powerful, timely call to action to preserve and protect invaluable ecosystems upon which all life on Earth depends.

Further to this, beyond taking responsibility for personal pollution, Sharon’s presentations provide people with meaningful tools and agency to take powerful action to address the interconnected climate and biodiversity crises we face.

Already Sharon’s Scrolls and presentations have inspired numerous artists from other parts of the world to create their own locally focussed nature honouring scrolls and projects.

As a community driven, not for profit arts and advocacy group dedicated to mobilising communities to take effective action to address the Climate Emergency, CLIMARTE is immensely proud to support and present Sharon’s vital work.

Sharon will be touring with her Scrolls from late September until mid November 2024, including giving presentations in the US and Europe. Please get in touch if you are interested in hosting or attending an event with Sharon and her Scrolls.

The Scrolls:

Scroll 1.  Biodiversity: nature’s embrace – rich and bold (completed) shows the chaos and beauty of nature in its complexity based on NASA  (National Aeronautical Space Administration, USA) data.

Scroll 2.  The bush whispers softly of changes profound (completed) shows the rising global temperature from 1880 – 2030, developed by NASA.

Scroll 3.  Nature trembles and sighs at the warming embrace (underway) shows the same NASA global temperature graph but this time when a plant crosses that graph line that part of the plant is in colour, with all the plants on either side of the graph line in black and white – the reverse of Scroll 2.

Scroll 4.   A tale of our making … once rich and bold

Scroll 5.  Species whisper their fading song

Scroll 6.  In carbon’s grasp, a deadly stroke

Scroll 7.  Climate’s rage disrupts the balance of life

Scroll 8.  Winds howl loud with a hotter breath

Scroll 9.  The spirit is in the soil – will show all the plants in Australia that have become extinct or are critically endangered.  Sharon will use Herbarium specimens for this scroll, illustrating Australia’s poor record of plant extinctions.

The Scrolls’ visual message will become more serious as the project develops, reflecting the grave threats faced to biodiversity (and us) by the Climate Emergency.