the snow is melting. the magnolia buds are swelling. and it is the time of year when i start panicking because spring happens so fast here. although this year, spring appears to be arriving almost a whole month early. if indeed it has, it might mean that we will get a proper multi-month spring, and i will be able to capture some of it for STILL. typically in minnesota, spring lasts more or less one day, around may 5. then it’s immediately too hot, and summer is here. the other thing that happens this time of year, is that, after months of lamenting my drab and monochrome surroundings, i get suddenly very nostalgic for the austere winter stems of our northern prairies. the graphic and otherworldy shapes will soon be hidden by a thick profusion of green sameness. yeah. the weather here doesn’t give me a break. and in turn, i don’t give it a break.
winter stems, seed heads, and dried blossoms
if you can sign your name, say art teachers, you have the physical skills you need to draw. however, drawing isn’t just about the ability to make marks on paper. what you learn when you learn to draw is that drawing is an exercise in seeing. if you can stop the brain from building images of what it thinks it sees, and instead draw the shapes and shadows that the eye actually sees, then you are at the beginning of being able to draw. shutting off the thinking part of the brain is harder than it sounds. i’ve come to see STILL as a similar exercise in seeing. this palm fan is a good example. i was on my way into the local hardware store to buy lightbulbs this morning, and the planter by the front door was full of last summer’s plantings, slowly being exposed by the erosion of melting snow. if not for STILL, i would either have ignored the planter completely, or seen an undifferentiated, soggy mess waiting to be composted. instead, my STILL brain picked out an appealingly webby pattern in these soggy palm fronds, as they sat waiting to be pulled, tossed, and forgotten.
dried fan palm
this photo is quite magnified. these prairie stems, each about 24 inches tall, caught my eye because the tiny flowers looked like delicate beadwork when backlit on my walk today. it wasn’t until i photographed them and pulled the image onto my imac that i saw that each of those beads was an intricately detailed tiny little flower with interesting striped coloration. each flower is about the size of a sesame seed. so those flowers are barely visible to the eye, and certainly not visible to my 55 year old eyes. what fun to pull it up on my 28 inch screen and see a whole floral world in a grain of sand.
unidentified prairie stems in winter
ps. i would love to know what plant this is. anyone?
i have an overwhelming urge to reach into this photo and turn the circular-center like a lens and bring whatever is out there into focus. also, the aperture might be a little wide. can we crank down on the f stop please? thank you.
austrian pine (and possibly red pine) pine needles in winter
it won’t be a straight path
i’m in the process of asking myself what comes next for STILL. i spent half an hour in a doctor’s waiting room today creating a mind map of possibilities. there are books, and art galleries, and southern french retreats, and small creative studios, and fabric prints in my mind map, and there might be some of those things in actual real life some day. but the path there . . . well, it’s not going to be straight.
grape vine tendril