Report by Alan CleaverCiCRyH6XEAEWkzf

BRITAIN’S favourite view – Wasdale – has been improved. Or completely ruined.

It all depends on your viewpoint and what you think about modern art.

A strip of yellow cloth 100 metres long has been draped from an oak tree on the screes to the Wastwater shoreline.

And like most works of modern art it’s divided opinion.



Pictures of the cloth on the screes has evoked many comments on Facebook including:

  • “Garbage. Pretentious codswallop.”
  • “Love it”
  • “Well it’s stupid obviously and a total waste of limited finances. However everyone is talking about. That’s ‘art’ for you.”
  • “How is that art it looks stupid. I hope it gets thrown in the lake”
  • “Looks stupid, don’t need any silly ‘modern’ art crap in the Lake District the views are stunning and awesome enough, let nature be nature and get rid of the yellow stuff!”
  • “Who the hell authorised the art anyways?”

The artwork is the brainchild of Cumbrian artists Harriet and Rob Fraser and is just part of a number of artworks connected with six other trees in the county.

Other trees that will be incorporated in some way include the Troutbeck Alder, Kentmere Rowan, Little Asby Hawthorn and Langstrath Birch.

Rob said: “We use photography and writing in our creative practice to respond to the natural world and the way humans interact with their environments.”

So what is the yellow cloth all about?

Rob said:

“We have chosen to use the seven colours to transform our seven trees for a couple of reasons. This being a project using photography, which is in the literal sense ‘painting with light’, the colour spectrum is an obvious point of reference.  The word ‘spectrum’ was introduced by Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century, when he remarked on the way that white light, when passed through a prism, reveals different colours.  Newton identified the seven colours of the spectrum – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet – the same colours that are seen in a rainbow and most of us learn as children, with the aid of simple rhymes.

Many hundreds of years before Newton came up with his spectrum, the seven colours had been connected with energy points or ‘chakras’ in the human body by Indian philosophers; they are often referred to in yoga and meditation processes.  The colours and their vibrational frequencies can be used to symbolise different elements of (human) nature, life stages and wellbeing, beginning with the groundedness of the red base, or root, chakra.  The association of colour with human sensations and emotions appeals to us: it is an aid to exploring in more depth our own personal processes as we journey through the year and through the land, and consider the way we as humans identify and respond to our environment.

We’ll be drawing on the colour symbolism in meditations at the trees, as well as in the art installations.

The colour yellow, which we are using in Wasdale, is linked with the third chakra and the solar plexus.

This is a centre for action. The association has found its way into common language – we all know what it means to act on your ‘gut’.

You could think of it as a meeting point between feelings (rising from the groin and the belly) and thoughts (arising in the mind).

The energy rising from the solar plexus is the fire that gets things going, that enables the translation of ideas into action; it is the point of spontaneous action resulting from a natural drive for survival.

Such action often follows the line of least resistance.”

All clear now? No, we didn’t think so.

But that’s art for you. It gets you thinking. Or angry.

The good news for the incensed is that the artwork is temporary and will only be there for two weeks.