The Art of Noticing
small observations and a book to inspire
The goldenrod is now shades of umber and the wasps are slowing down; de-energized with the lack of pollen , heading for the end of their brief cycle. We have become more sympathetic to their cause given their short time allotted on earth to achieve all their tasks . At a patio dinner the other day in intense sunshine they brushed against us and swirled around our heads and glasses -Aggression depleted. I felt more calm in their presence understanding their place in our world. Similarly the salmon observed last week swimming determinedly through shallow pebbly stream and river to reach their destination caught my attention. Black ,undulating shadowy fish under the bridge .. swimming forward to spawn. “Their arduous journey is a race against the clock that ends in a fleeting romance and ultimately death” These small significant lives which cycle amongst us.
Paying more dedicated attention to the natural world is new to me. I have always noticed the showy fall leaves on display and the first frost ..and snowfall ..the blossoms and crocus heralding Spring ..
In the past I did not really experience the details -
I truly did not consider the beauty as colour drained away from so many forms of plant life.
It’s like a sea change has occurred.
Fiona D Artisan captures the wonder of her observation and relates it to her creative practise so beautifully . Her post popped up as I was writing this newsletter !
It’s as if I am fine tuning in to my details of my environment . The larger view remains ..but the noticing has shifted. For example I would not have noticed the tiny red salamanders on the road a few weeks ago. Or how the forest beside the road layers hues in shades of green to almost black .
When I wander down to the clothesline on our property I take stock of the distinct and subtle changes of colour in the shrubbery and weeds and wild garden
I wonder if this heightened sensitivity to my environment is due to having the stressors of work removed- peeled away to reveal a new vibrant vision of the world around me. Or if an appreciation for my own cycle on earth is more prominent and pronounced now that I am in my late 60’s!
I just finished a beautiful book “One Madder Woman” by author Dede Crane about a female French impressionist artist whose story and art is often overlooked-Berthe Morisot . The details of the time and place were fascinating and outlined the challenges /struggles of a female artist to be recognised by her peers (male) and to be able to practice her art in an authentic way. Not having currency or power even though she was born into a comfortable economic existence -she continued to challenge expectations and traditions of her gender in a male dominated world. Berthe painted what was accessible to her -the everyday women and children who surrounded her capturing their domestic and maternal lives ( a hired model was not a possibility afforded her) The results were quite stunning and a departure from the art that was the norm of the times.
There is so much I can take for granted regarding my freedoms to practise what I love , to earn my own money -to travel freely and unaccompanied and to not to conform to certain standards of expressing myself. These have been hard earned freedoms over time and I appreciate all of my predecessors efforts to permit me this life .(with the recognition there is much more to do and that my freedom and privileges are not in any way universal.)
So as one thing leads to another I wonder how I can incorporate imagery of early female artists into my work. My art for an upcoming exhibition titled Clotheslines is still in its experimental /infancy stage .The push pull of female responsibilities and making art interest me greatly ..Hmm But then there is my gentle walk down to the clothesline ..noticing ..
A few process sketches from my sketchbook..
I have the privilege of hanging my clothes on the line but its a task I enjoy. I share domestic tasks with my partner. I can carve time out to make art because it’s important to me.
The details of nature continue to beckon me as I move through this Autumn.
What’s new in My Etsy shop
Black and white mixed media paintings ..
A few of these recent works in Black and White on paper and wood can be discovered in my shop (oops The painting above has just been sold )
Thanks for reading Ageless Artist!
Your thoughts are always welcome!