Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tiny Still Lifes

When we were in the mountains last October we had one hike that Dearest and Oldest son wanted to take, but Daughter and Youngest son wanted to skip (quite tired already). So I hung around the parking area for the trail head, and the younger two stayed in the car and read books. While I hung around I took my camera and searched the ground for these little compositions in the fallen acorns. All of these are not cropped and not arranged- they're just how I found, framed and shot them at the time.

The oak leaves in this part of the Blue Ridge Parkway were oddly full of holes. It seemed only to affect the white oak group - white oak and chestnut oak, in particular.

Looking at these more than six months later, I'm not sure why I liked them so much. And I have the strong feeling that these could be turned into paintings, but I would sharpen up the compositions and motion in each. It's some measure of where I've traveled internally in those six months. Then I got an itch from these as I saw them - now I have a feeling how I could scratch that itch if I chose.

And I have a feeling that another six months would find me somewhere else. While the differences probably seem subtle to others, and my work might seem pretty similar in style to observers, to me the changes are larger, feeling like some kind of drift in taste or in internal fashion.


susan said...

This might seem like a strange confession but although I'm very much inspired by nature, I have great difficulty coming to terms with it artistically. I get lost in the intensity of details both in form and color and I don't deal well with green at all. There are so many shades yet it's easy to kill a living green. I guess it's along the lines of 'only God can make a tree'.

I love these little macro pictures and will look forward to seeing them or lessons they've taught you in future pieces. You have a fine eye.

linda said...

a wonderment is an acorn family, tis true and you inspire my own way with your pictures that are like tiny sparks for imagination --later later, it is there but grows, like these fat pregnant acorns....

i shall show you mine --they are quite slender and brown and still on the ground just waiting...maybe for me...

Steve Emery said...

Susan - I think I know what you mean. First I agree wholeheartedly that green is a mess. I love it and prefer it intense and pure and glowing - but it's hard to handle. Yellow is, too, in large amounts. They can ruin a piece, but they are so tempting to use in quantity.
Second, that detail and profusion of nature is a bit mind boggling. I find it easier to handle nature in photos or from my much more limited memory - drawing nature outdoors is overwhelming. Just a single tree is impossible in all its depth, detail, and motion.

Linda - I have to think on acorns as you mention them. I was reacting to them as beautiful shapes, like pots or vessels of some kind - not as the pregnant and possible trees that they are. So much packed into such a small elegant space.

I'd love to see your acorns. Acorns are the same, but so different, everywhere I travel. I didn't get to see any when I was in SF once. But European acorns are different, and so are the live oak acorns of Charleston, SC. And the ones in these photos (from the black oak group of species - they hybridize a lot, so species are difficult for an amateur to identify) are some of the fattest and most cylindrical, flat on top and almost flat on the bottom, as well. I remember them from the woods of upstate New York, where I grew up and first learned about trees and plants. Then there are the round egg shaped acorns of the chestnut oak, in yellows, greens, reds and chocolate browns, often all on one acorn - colors almost exactly like the old colors of M&Ms back in the 1970's, before they added blue... And finally the overcup oaks, with caps that almost cover the entire acorn (I have several very large ones I picked up in Utah) and the ones that have frills around the edges of the cap, so it looks like a bird nest (like chinquapin oak). I love them all. So I'd love to see yours.