Thursday, March 31, 2016

(My) Perspective Matters: The Effects on an Artist

my perspective matters the effects on an artist christy sheeler she must make art blogspot 2016

Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, I'm sure you can relate.

Early spring has begun to arrive here in northern Montana.  It's not a picture perfect lush green yet.  That kind of spring has not arrived yet.  On Sunday, as we drove to church for Easter service, my son spotted a robin.  A few nights ago, as I was about to drift off to sleep, I heard the geese honking as they flew over our neighborhood.  While outside on a warmer day, last week I spotted the tulips leaves, just green tips of a few inches, starting their way up from the ground.  Strawberry leaves are coming back to life, among the dead leaves, pine cones, and twigs.  The green onions that remained in the raised garden beds have kept their square foot home in the soil.  Their stalks are turning green again, reminding me it won't be so long before planting will begin again.  Before I show those views to you, stick with me a bit longer...

We've had such a limited amount of snow in the past five months.  It's definitely reason to feel apprehensive about the coming months.  The summer of 2015 quickly turned troubling with the lack of moisture.  Before we realized it, we had a hard wildfire season.  Smoke-filled haze and ash on flat surfaces was such a disappointing end to summer activities.

We still need moisture in some form.  Whether it be gentle rains or (typical for our spring) wet, heavy snow this time of year would be very welcome.  It's easy to become discouraged when we base our hope on what we can see or understand.  Human perspective is surely flawed!  And I'm included.  Tuesday morning I noticed garbage strewn along the ground near a dumpster in a nearby alley.  That was what my eye noticed, glancing out of the corner of my eye.  With my two teens in the car, we headed out for an orthodontic appointment.

photo of alley early spring black and white photo by christy sheeler 2016

In the back recesses of my mind, I was disappointed at the sight.  The cause could be cats, dogs, wind, etc.  It wasn't an enjoyable sight.  Now, I took the photo today...and maybe there was more garbage lying around then, I'm not sure.  That is beside the point.  Just hang on and see where I'm going with this...

I was fixated on the sight for a moment - caught up in it.  

Does that ever happen with you?  In can easily turn into a negative thought pattern.

Now there's another view I've studied in passing - the lilac bush in a neighbor's yard.  I'm usually driving into the alley, approaching our garage entrance.  There on the bush, the tiniest buds, just bundles of leaves - not that they are recognizable at this early stage.  But I know what they are from past experience.  Now on first glance, it's not all that exciting.  But wait...

Lilac bushes first buds photography by Christy Sheeler 2016

Lilac bushes first buds photography by Christy Sheeler 2016

Do you notice what happens as you draw closer?  Looking more intently, focused, it all changes to something so mesmerizing.  The effect is much different than with a quick glance.

Lilac bushes first buds photography by Christy Sheeler 2016

And then let's get just one more to soak in the contrast, the colors, the lines...

Lilac bushes first buds photography by Christy Sheeler 2016

Nearly sixteen years ago, we purchased our home.  In those early years, it had two flowering bushes in the backyard.  In the spring, they were full of dainty pale pink blossoms.  The blossoms fell and after came tiny tart cherries.  The bushes have since faded away and one had to be removed because it was more dead than thriving.  The remains of the second bush is just a shadow of its former beauty.  I've hated to lose the bushes because I loved both the blossoms and the fruit.

The second bush that remains is near the back of the yard.  From its roots, runners have reached underground and come up beyond the fence, about three feet away.  My husband usually cuts down the runners while trimming the tall grasses in that area.

cherry blossoms photograph spring perspective matters march 2016 blog post

Tuesday evening, I noticed something - those runners from the cherry bush are ready to burst with pink blooms.  The length of each branch is three or four feet, all lined with promises of tiny flowers.  The cherries are nearly ready to bloom!  I had near this before and not noticed.  Now this view is what you'd see and think, ick! time to get this stuff outa' here!  But what happens when we zoom in and look for a tighter perspective?  What else can we find here?

cherry blossoms photograph spring perspective matters march 2016 blog post

Does all this sound like a rambling without purpose?  Hold on.  Wait for it...

cherry blossoms photograph spring perspective matters march 2016 blog post

cherry blossoms photograph spring perspective matters march 2016 blog post

cherry blossoms photograph spring perspective matters march 2016 blog post

cherry blossoms photograph spring perspective matters march 2016 blog post

 Our minds are like cameras.  Where do we apply the zoom?

My mind selects what I'll look for - where to zoom in and focus my attention.   They require us making the adjustments for focus on the details.  Here's something we all deal with every day and it's important.  As an artist, being weary and disappointed does not help inspire my work.  I don't create art to relax.  I create art when I am relaxed.  I can still push through and make art but the results will not be the same at all.

cherry blossoms photograph spring perspective matters march 2016 blog post

It's been a long winter.  That's the usual here in Montana.  (How about where you are?) I shouldn't be surprised.  Right now we could all use a hopeful glimpse of spring.  I'm talking about something to energize and refuel our hope for green grass and gardens, bright sun that warms us to our core.  I long for the longer days, sun not setting until after eight or nine!  Really!

Maybe I'm dancing around the edges of saying we need to guard our hearts and minds.

The heart guides the mind.
The mind guides the rest of the whole person.
Training the zoom begins in the heart.

It just so happens, I've got a scripture to go with kept running through my head...

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23 NIV

I'm learning my own personal discipline is important.  I want to be actively in tune with what feeds or starves my creativity...along with the rest of me.

Not that my creativity is my main priority.  Keeping priorities in proper order is key here.  I'm sharing the ways that this affects me in the art room.  When my family experiences me looking for the positive and uplifting, life is better.

I am talking here about what I've been considering inwardly - please do not interpret these thoughts as imagining it is mastered...accomplished.  No.  It's a process, ongoing and not nearly complete.

Have you gotten enough of my spring firsts photos?  Need a few more to tide you over?  Okay, I've got a few more to share.

Hope springs eternal...

tulips breaking through dead leaves and pine cones the first signs of spring
Tulips breaking through, stretching upward, taller than yesterday.

green onions sprouting up first signs of spring march 2016 blog post perspective matters Christy Sheeler artist
Green onion shoots are claiming their square plot in the garden.

strawberry leaves green breaking through dead leaves first signs of spring march 2016 photography
Strawberry leaves bright green among the brown & dried up...seasons changing.

Are there familiar signs of spring you long to see this time of year?  I'd love to know what they are.   I'm sure spring has reached other regions by now.  Maybe there are memories of spring seasons past, maybe in another part of the world.  Maybe it's not what you see now but what your mind recalls from another time.  How can your days be made better by what you stop to briefly appreciate, take notice?

I'm not sure the sun will be assisting me the best today.  I'm attempting to capture some photographs today...what will the camera achieve? (written earlier in the day...which, by now, you can see I did get some photos to use here.)

It's 4:29 p.m. and I've reached this point in the blog.  The weather is growing colder and damp.  By evening, we'll have some moisture YAY! and by tomorrow snow is likely.  Very thankful for every bit we get!

I've come up with a list of ten practical ways to start...and I'll be ready to share next week!
More to come...

she must make art.

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