Evanescent

What a wonderful prompt from WordPress this week – https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/evanescent/

“Evanescent can be any fleeting moment in time. It could be the moment you drop a seed into your garden, marking that promise of new growth to come. It could be a photo of the Eastern Phoebe that visits your deck each day, wagging her tail as she calls her own name. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, it could be that carpet of leaves that fell overnight, before the wind scatters them. It might be the moment you light the first fire of Fall.”

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Down here on the shores of the Southern Ocean autumn has definitely been evanescent this year.  Nearly every day for the past month has been wet and windy.    The autumn leaves in the parks and gardens mostly droop in soggy brown clusters or rattle as they blow in drifts down the gutters.  Blue skies are a rarity.

Evanescence –
glimpses of autumn gold
between showers.
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Rocks as energy

I’m finding life very intense at the moment.  My feeling nature seems to have become more acute and I am becoming more aware of the energetic fields in the natural environment.   Today began with major tree felling going on next door.  At the sound of the first branches falling my legs started to shake.  It was a weird feeling.   I think it’s in the Star Wars movies where they talk about a disturbance in the force.   This morning felt like that.   As the men started to bring down the branches of the really big eucalypt it felt like a disturbance occurred in the energy field of the neighbourhood.

The noise of wood chipper was appalling so I went out.   When I came home later I saw the branches on all the trees that hang over my neighbour’s back fence have been removed but the smaller trees are still standing.   The large tree is now a massive tree trunk sticking up about 12 feet into the air.   It’s already partly covered in ivy.   I guess in time it will become totally covered and look like a tall thin tower of ivy.

The energy still felt kind of fractured and the wood chipper was still going so I decided to see if the rumour that the Southern Right Whales had arrived from Antarctica already was true.  (they spend the winter in the Southern Ocean here).    I drove out to the lookout.   There were quite a lot of people about.   My whale spotting strategy is to scan the ocean in the direction where most people are looking.  Sure enough, far out to sea I caught sight of the distinctive spume of the Right Whale.   As I watched I saw the dark shape of the head appearing from time to time and, once, the tail fin.   The animal was so far out I caught no more than glimpses.   All the same, there was a moment where my sense of myself in time and space suddenly expanded.   Maybe it was the thought of the creature swimming all the way from Antarctica that did it.    For a brief instant I felt like I was part of the vast cycle of life on this planet – hard to describe but it was enough to make me think I’ll be doing a lot of whale watching this winter.

So –  a day of high drama.   During the past week I got back out to the rock cliff I featured last week.   I walked in as close as I could get and concentrated on taking photos of the detail.    Reducing the photos to B&W highlights the dramatic presence of the rock wall.  I think the photos work as a visual metaphor to convey something of the intensity I’ve been feeling lately. Although the final photo is of a vertical rock face it suggests the power and energy of the sea to me.   It goes some way towards corresponding with the kind of feeling I get when I see the whales.

 

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prompt:  Sally D’s mobile devices challenge – challengers choice

A not so obvious narrative

 

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2017-02-09 16.40.16-01  Photos taken with my phone

 

This week Sally D has included her thoughts on Black & White mobile devices photography as part of her challenge  https://lensandpensbysally.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/sally-ds-mobile-photography-challenge-black-and-white-palms-and-succulents/.    She writes-

“Black-and-white photography continues to inspire my view of the world, its obvious and not-so-obvious narratives. When color is stripped from the subject, there is a closer affinity to purity of sight. Hidden layers often are revealed and elements of capture can be more enticing.

Color is reality, but monochrome is part (among other characteristics) dreamy boldface plus suitable subject. As I watch the world before me, suddenly the possibility for the b&w appears, is made clear and then clearer. I see the real in a new dimension. The image is influenced by the mind’s interpretative abilities. The intuitive eye fills the heart’s center, recreating what is seen and what can be seen.

The photographic journey continues on an adventure that enlightens and illuminates the visual landscape. A subject can be rendered so differently in full technicolor vs. black and white.

The reduction to basic elements (sans color) makes the stilling of a moment something beyond its original intent. Does this decision by the photographer impose a significant change in the viewer’s reaction? Or is the work simply an explanation and expression of the way that the artist sees the subject?”

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Whenever I drive past this rock face I imagine ways to photograph.  The folds and crevices  suggest Black & White photos to me but I feel I am yet to make a photo that truly resembles what I see in my mind’s eye. 

When I stop my car and walk up to closer to the rocks their sheer presence somehow distracts me from my original intention.   I always  plan to take detailed close ups  but always end up taking shots of the wider view.  I’ll be going over that way tomorrow.   Perhaps it will be the day when my intuitive eye will fill my heart centre and I’ll get closer to recreating what can seen.   I live in hope Smile

Focusing my intention.

The light of the recent full moon in Scorpio was piercing, penetrating. In the wee small hours aspects of my own psychology were revealed to me. The cold, hard facts were laid out so I could not help but see them. At 3am while searing white light found the chinks and gaps in my bedroom curtains I lay awake thinking things through.

One of those things I thought about was this blog.   It could so easily meander off into the same direction as my old blog.   It is already showing a tendency to become no more than a way of filling in time when I’m bored and/or a place to vent about life’s petty trials and tribulations.    Having blogged that way on ‘Art and Life’ for several years I know how frustrated I get with that.   The blog becomes a rambling collection of good, bad and indifferent creative efforts that, more often than not, arbitrarily change direction frequently in  response to other people’s blog challenges.

I started this blog in an attempt to be more focused.  If I want to keep doing it I need to decide now to refine the focus or I resign myself to repeating the patterns that ultimately lead to  death by inconsequentiality.

Part of the problem I’m having with this blog is the stated intention.  The idea of working with words and images and exploring how they work together is leading me into new directions.   Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading about Basho, haibun and haiga.  That led me into a deeper investigation of haiku and Zen Buddhism.

From there I went into reading about how the Buddhist concept of emptiness is reflected in Chinese and Japanese ink brush painting.

In a landscape painting empty space often indicates cloud, mist, sky, water or smoke,
partly depending on the suggestions that the solid forms supply. Nonetheless, the
real mystery of the emptiness is that empty space refers to qi (chi),
a cosmological term which is formless, but bestows life to Chinese painting     http://www.heweimin.org/Texts/mystery_of_empty_space.pdf                                                                   

   Li Shi (李氏)12thC Imaginary tour through Xiao-xiang

I then began exploring how the mid 20th century American painters Ad Reinhardt was influenced by Chinese painting, voids and emptiness.  At the same time I took a detour into reading and thinking about haiku, haiga and landscape photography.

  Haiku and photo by Ron C. Moss https://www.behance.net/gallery/27565659/ron-c-moss-haiku-and-photography

Looking at all this art and thinking about the ideas behind it has made me re-think my approach to incorporating words and images in my own work.   In the past I’ve skimmed over ideas, gleaned a broad overview and used that as a launch pad for creative expression.   It’s all happened quite quickly and I haven’t thought too deeply about my own processes.   Now I’m feeling the urge to slow down, think more deeply and respond in a measured way.   All that takes time.

If this blog is going to work for me long term it has to be focused.  I have to discipline myself to use it in a methodical way.   Probably the best way at present is to use it as a place to reflect on what I’m reading and thinking about.  Ultimately my goal is to create work that incorporates images and text but I might need to explore a metaphorical Outer Mongolia before I get there.

Forest Bathing

This week’s WordPress photo challenge https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/reflecting/  asks us to ‘share a photo that captures something reflected back to you in a way that made you look at your surroundings differently.’

I took the photo below one autumn a few years ago but it is still one of my favourites.

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It was taken in a Japanese garden in a little country town an hour’s drive north of where I live.   The red tree growing in the water challenges my usual way of seeing the world.   The fact that water reflects the sky so accurately adds to effect.   My pre-conceived ideas that trees are green and grow in the earth are turned upside down.

The imminent destruction of the biggest, oldest tree in my neighbourhood (see my last two posts) has led me to think about trees a lot this week.   The tree felling is due to happen on Saturday.   I don’t want to be here and have been trying to work out where I can go that will keep me busy for hours on end.

I could go and see friends but then I’d probably just end up talking about the tree felling and getting myself even more upset.   Yesterday I went and spent some time in a local bush reserve.   Walking beneath the tall eucalyptus trees helped me balance and ground my energy.

In the comment section of a previous post someone said I had been forest bathing.   I’d heard this phase before but it wasn’t until last night that I read about the healing benefits of spending time in the forest.   https://qz.com/804022/health-benefits-japanese-forest-bathing/.   After my experience in the forest yesterday I am convinced that spending time in the forest absorbing the energy really can lower the heart rate and calm anxieties.

After finding the photos of the red trees I’m thinking I might make the trek across country and go and visit these trees once again.   It’s autumn over here in Oz but this year the weather has been very cold and wet.   There haven’t been many sunny days.   Fingers crossed Saturday brings some sunshine and I make the pilgrimage to see these these extraordinary trees.    I might even make Saturday the day when I buy myself that new camera I’ve been promising myself.

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Emptiness

When I was very young I lived with my family on the shores of a vast salt lake.  We moved to the city when I was four  – the country was left behind and never revisited.   My childhood memories are of suburban streets and holidays on the beach.    The inland lake and the flat plains surrounding it became a mythic land I visited only in dreams.

illusionReturning to the lake shore now, all these decades later, my eyes are stretched into a haze of blue.   Is this what I saw as a baby?   Did my infant eyes attempt to focus on the horizon only to drift into illusory realms where nothing is quite as it seems?   Did this vision of infinite possibilities, probabilities and improbabilities influence my approach to life? – the landscape as a Buddhist primer for babies.

prompt – https://pixtowords.com/2017/04/23/emptiness-pic-and-a-word-challenge-84/

(elements of this post appeared on my old blog “Art and Life” is a different format)