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Silent Colors, Hudson Valley
“I paint for the sole purpose of magnifying the privilege of being alive.” – Robert Henri
My favorite character in the classic childrens book “The Phantom Tollbooth” was Chroma, the conductor who would bring forth the colors of the rainbow, or a beautiful sunset based on a musical “score.” It seems so natural to me that color can correspond to sounds; bright or dark, loud or soft, sharp or dull.
For me this image was definitely more about sound than about leaves, or water, or distant mountains. There was a quiet moment, when all I could hear was the wind blowing through the tall reeds of grass, and at that same time I noticed the cloud reflections in the water at my feet. It was like a single note held high above a steady hum of deep blues.
When I realized what I was seeing and hearing, I remembered the Henri quote above, and decided it was a good time to make a few pictures.
What’s important here is the connection to a moment, or a feeling, or a sense that you’re truly engaged with nature. Music and sound are extremely connected to my visual sense, and so I generally react to moments when those are all in harmony of some sort.
But it can be different for you. Whatever it is that makes you feel most alive, it’s essential to incorporate that into your approach in the field. After all, that’s what we all want to see from your work – what you see and feel, that we don’t.
Have you ever thought about when is the right time for you to make pictures?
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It is really important to have a right moment. But it is more important for an artist than for the audience. The picture is not speaking quotes, descriptions, etc. It should tell the meanings to the audience by its’ only image, no matter how it’s done.
Good question….there are times when the whole exercise is a more meditative experience and the photographing seems to come in its own time…when I’m more in tune to what I’m seeing, feeling, or smelling…and it flows. Other times I recognize some unusual fleeting moment of light or shapes in a landscape scene, and while I love capturing the moment and its beauty, it doesn’t lend itself to as much of a meditative experience (simply feeling present to all that I’m experiencing), but it doesn’t mean it can’t be….it simply takes more mindful awareness on my part. It still can be a very peaceful experience that flows.