Thursday, July 14, 2011
An artist's eyes.....
Yesterday I was talking to a woman about the profusion of wildflowers this year, and she admitted to me that, when it comes to flowers, she only can recognize roses and sunflowers. She said she 'wished' she knew more flowers, but just didn't know what the different ones are.
I have to confess that I was amazed. I recently read How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day by Michael Gelb. I was not overwhelmingly impressed by the book, though I enjoyed it, but I have read many other books that say the same things, and I seem to operate on the basic principle it eschews by nature. That is the principle of observation. Of looking to actually see, and then learning as much about what you see as you can. Da Vinci believed everything is related, so learning about one thing makes us interested in other things. Scientists, naturalists, and inventors all 'claim' da Vinci to be one of their own. But we know what da Vinci was: he was an artist. And artists must look at the world to see it.
When I was at the cabin last weekend, I heard a bird song that did not belong to the song of the 'regular crowd.' So I kept my eyes open, and soon spotted a Bullock's Oriole and his mate (she is the yellow one). (If you go to the link, listen to the lovely whistling call.) We have seen Orioles at the cabin and even in town before, but they are not our 'regulars.' I would bank on the fact that the woman I was talking to yesterday also does not know the names, calls, or look of many birds.
Also up at the lake, as we drove by on the way to our cabin, I spotted this tall flowering mass above the shrubs and wondered if maybe it was a wild hollyhock. We had to hike through the tall grasses and flowers to find out. Sadly, it was just the last flowering branch of a wild rose bush, and not the more rare hollyhock, but still, I had to find that out.
Sometimes I think I post too much about flowers and animals and birds and such on this blog (remember the many posts I forced upon you this spring about owls?). But I have noticed that other artists I admire also post about the natural world around them. How can we not? To be an artist is to be an observer, and, whether or not we include all we see in our art, it is all a part of our work. In fact our observations create our need to create.
So, no apologies for posting my birds and flowers and lions and tigers and bears (oh, my!) They are a big part of the tapestry which is my life. And I hope that is true for you, as well....