Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Some big thought is tugging at my mind as I work. Even as I create, something is urging me to make a leap as well. I am busy helping clematis blossoms express themselves as dancers, but I am being prodded into recognizing another larger thought as well. The expression, the gestures of the faded blossoms, would they mean anything if there was no humans, myself and other viewers, to recognize them, to give them meaning? Does everything hang on our `unique` human consciousness? Or is this cherished belief just another example of our human tendency to measure everything against our own yardstick? That deer wandering across my lawn right now, a monkey in a tropical forest, the dolphin surfing down a wave in mid Pacific, we measure them against our own way of understanding and being within the world.
The blossoms take these attitudes whether I see them or not. The deer, monkey and the dolphin think as they need, and in their own way. The microscopic life of the word too expresses itself and all of which it is a part. The rocky mantle rises and sinks, the atmosphere swirls like smoke, all dances. What we think as uniquely human is simply another expression of the whole.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
My photography club recently had its first gallery show here on Saltspring and the other night Heather and I went to the opening. A hundred photographs covered the walls, shouldering each other aside in a bid to be noticed. I was sad to see that my own precious pieces were lost in the bravura performance of so many large, bright, beautiful, professionally framed photos. Here was an opportunity for me to understand my own way a little better.
Typically for me I had made my own frames, sawing, shaping and sanding the simple strips from the rough cedar planks I had earlier cut from my own trees, buying large sheets of glass and cutting them down to fit, gluing, spray painting and finally choosing mats and cutting them to frame my photos. The whole process took time but what pleasure to have my art work in tangible form rather than simply a computer screen image. I was doing what ‘tiggers do best,’ not letting my lack of cash stop me from achieving a high level of satisfaction.
The choice of which of my images I would display was difficult: how to fit in with the group has always been a problem for me, I`m usually off on my own adventure. No really edgy photos, I decided, and that cut out a lot! My choice came down to simple, non flashy, carefully composed, contemplative nature images. Small wonder then that they were lost in the shuffle. Here was the nub though, did I want to shine out among my fellows or did I wish to represent myself and my present interests? Really there was no choice to make, although it was painful to see my little creations squeezed so badly. I am on a personal journey after all, and my work will increasingly diverge from the usual standard. That is the most difficult thing, to trust my own passion and follow my own path even as it becomes more and more remote from the main road. That pain I`m feeling, that`s just the sign that I`m moving forward.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
‘The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o`er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.’
‘Elegy in a Country Church-yard’. by Thomas Gray
Three steps from the computer screen takes me out onto a second story balcony of my home and from there I stand watching the day fade slowly into night. This, along with the first glow of dawn is one of the most expressive moments of the twenty-four hour day. It is also difficult to photograph. A slow shutter speed is obvious, - the technical part - , but how to express in pixels the richness of the moment, the evocative, important part of the creative process?
Left to its own devices the camera will try to brighten up the darkness to a ‘correct exposure’ and that I must avoid, but how to catch the scent of flowers, fir needles and drying grasses. How to express the rich sadness that permeates the air as in the above quote from Thomas Gray? Once the image is in the computer I experiment with several possibilities. Perhaps by darkening the image and increasing the saturation of the colours? Or making it into a moonlit black and white? Or the same with a blue tint added? Lighter? More contrasty? Softer? The possibilities are endless.
While manipulating the image on the computer screen I am drifting into a nocturnal musical mood, feeling the mood within myself, and eventually settle on my first instinctive choice of rich colour and velvety shadows. Nocturne.