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Posts Tagged ‘painting’

Come to the marsh to see how the rising sun paints the morning sky.  Its palette is bolder than Van Gogh’s and softer than Monet’s.

I experience a period of frightening clarity in those moments when nature is so beautiful.
~ Vincent Van Gogh

Each morning’s painting is a revelation, presenting a selection of hues never seen together before and certainly never to be seen again.  Not even the rocks can say they’ve seen it all before.  Gray surrenders to blushes of coral and pink.  Clouds only serve to enhance the effect.

Look with your eyes but see with your soul the uniqueness of dawn’s unveiling.

If the sun dawned in the marsh and there was nobody there to see it, would it not still be beautiful?  Perhaps the herons would like to answer that question.

Surely the word ‘awesome’ should be reserved for such reflections of light on water.  Perhaps those who overuse that word these days have never witnessed such a wonder.

No matter how many times  I see the sun painting the morning sky and marsh water, my excitement doesn’t wane.  Somehow, the sun never disappoints, and despite my expectations of spectacular color combinations, I am always marvelously surprised.

These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession.
~ Claude Monet

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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Fascinated by the play of light filtering through the trees onto the tangled undergrowth, it’s no wonder why Vincent van Gogh made so many paintings of such scenes.

Trees and Undergrowth by van Gogh

The effect of light changes from one minute to the next as clouds pass overhead and the breeze affects the movement of the leaves.  The time of day also plays a role in how warm the light will appear on foliage and bark.

Nature is always changing, never stagnant, but some environments tend to reveal that quality more than others, and it’s no surprise that it’s in those places that we most feel alive.

Undergrowth by van Gogh

In springtime, new undergrowth looks especially fresh as a myriad of tiny plants blend together to create a living mosaic.  Ferns unfurled add a lushness to the forest floor.  Carpets of green wood sorrel replace last autumn’s dried leaves.

The emergent undergrowth provides a contrast to the vertical lines of the lichen covered trees.  As saplings, these trees too were once a part of the undergrowth.  Now their ongoing competition for light forces them to soar above one another, revealing their green lushness only in the canopy.

Trees with undergrowth of young balsam firs

Although he often exaggerated the intensity of Nature’s palette, van Gogh understood the importance of  being outdoors to witness the effect of light on a landscape.  Pictures and photographs can only begin to tell the story.  Whether or not you’re a painter, the woods are waiting for a visit from you to show off their new spring growth.

Lady’s slipper orchids growing in Nova Scotia woods

 It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to…. The feeling for the things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for pictures.
~ Vincent van Gogh

Wood sorrel carpeting the forest floor

Paintings by Vincent van Gogh shown above:
Trees and Undergrowth (1887)
Section of Undergrowth with Two Figures (June 1890 Auvers)

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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A sunflowers blooms in a bed of dried eelgrass in the salt marsh.

September’s flowers reveal varying hues of yellow in the marsh, along the roadside and in the garden.  Some, like the Sunflowers, are bright and bold, while others like the Sea Radish are pale and barely there.

Traditionally it is women who are considered best at discerning subtle differences between colors.  Often attributed to women’s historic role as fruit and nut gatherers, it’s no surprise that the ability to select safe and ripe foods is so closely tied to the skill of correctly choosing and remembering colors. 

Yet, it was two males, the colorist Josef Albers and the painter Vincent Van Gogh, who made the greatest strides in harnessing the wonders of yellow in art.

I was for years in the yellow period, you know.
~ Josef Albers

Above, a sampling of yellows  found in just six species of wildflowers reveals a marvelous variety.  September’s warm light gives them a cheerful disposition despite the approaching cold. 

The names of some flowers are inspired by their colors as in the Butter and Eggs shown above.

Like human beings, colors are influenced by others in their immediate surrounding.  They possess the magical ability to transform one another into even more wondrous versions of themselves.  How striking the Black-eyed Susan appears above against a backdrop of white spruce! 

There is no blue without yellow and without orange.
~ Vincent Van Gogh

Despite advances in digital imaging, colors seen by the naked eye in natural light still cannot be replicated truly by technology.  When I was an art student, one of my painting professors told me she could tell that I had used a photograph of a sunset as the subject for a painting because she could see that I had made use of a more limited palette.  Had I made the painting looking at a real sunset, I would likely have chosen a greater variety of yellows and oranges than those  made available at the time by Kodak.

There is no substitute for seeing late summer’s yellow blooms in person.  The time to drink up your fill of them is now, while the warm September light is still able to show them at their best.

I really just want to be warm yellow light that pours over everyone I love.
~ Conor Oberst

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