It is not unusual for an artist to paint a landscape on canvas; it is however, unusual for canvas to paint the landscape. This was the case when environmental artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude constructed the placement of 3,100-canvas umbrellas simultaneously in the U.S. and Japan. On October 1991, Christo and Jeanne-Claude realized their goal with the completion of The Umbrellas. This project spanned across 18 miles of farmland and mountains off interstate 5 in California and 12 miles of mountains and farmland in Japan. They were 3,100 in number and were each approximately 20ft. high 26ft. across. The project’s cost was a reported 25,000,000 U.S. dollars.
California’s 1,760 umbrellas were a vibrant sunny yellow. Yellow dotted the countryside in a seemingly random placement covering the large expanse of land. Their placement called attention to the openness and large amount of space the area holds. Depending on the position of the sun, the umbrella’s giant dark shadows highlighted the light brown moisture-deprived grass covering the hills and valleys. When looking at an aerial photography image shot at dusk, the umbrellas appeared as if they were lights from a rural town.
The placements of the massive umbrellas were much closer in Japans limited space compared to those constructed in California. Japans 1,340 umbrellas were a spectacular brilliant blue; some were placed in a fast running river surrounded by lush green vegetation. Others were placed in rice fields and along a roadway. The color of the umbrellas coordinated with that of the sky making them appear as if they were an extension of the sky, floating in air and finally grounded by the earth. Although the placement seemed to be random, they were place in such a way to lay emphasis on particular areas.
The aluminum, steel, wood, and fabric blended with that of the sometimes-rugged terrain so at a distance the umbrellas appeared to be bright patches of thriving wild