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....

7 comments:

Rebecca Mezoff said...

Thanks Kathy. I am always fascinated by perception and attention--and am also always amazed at how many people just don't see things. I'm sure most artists are the kind of people who have to stop and see if the pink bunch of flowers is a hollyhock or not... at least I hope so.

Ixchel tapestry weaver said...

Lovely Kathy. Especially because we really need to see more than what is there out there. We really need to take time for ourselves to SEE everything...then look, then observe...then digest the information... then understand or not, just feel.
Thanks for sharing!

Jan said...

So then I got my artistic tendencies from my Mom, who was told in Elementary school that she was unartistic. But she knew the names of all the flowers, trees, birds etc, and I learned them m
just like I learned to speak my native language. I remember asking her "what is that flower," and she always knew, and I just assumed everyone did. That said, she HATED gardening, because it was a regular chore for her as a kid.

Sue said...

I don't think you can ever post too much about the beauty around you and that certainly includes flowers, birds and the all the beauty created by His hand.

Carol said...

I don't think there is ever a 'too much' about birds or flowers or anything in nature for that matter...think what an empty world it would be without them! Thank you for the great photos of all the nature you see and share. Thanks also for the bird link. I have saved it.

K Spoering said...

I'm not over-fond of gardening either, and unfortunately, my garden shows it. I do love the flowers that survive there, though, and love wildflowers. There is a lavender fest here this weekend, so I will go and see what they do with one of my favorite flower/herbs!

OzWeaver said...

I enjoyed this post so much, and checking the link for that oriole so I could hear its song! Thank you!

Observing and looking is such a thrill in life. I can't imagine not always being tuned in to the world around us!