The Cypress trees of Reelfoot Lake turn a beautiful red orange in the fall. Reelfoot Lake was created by the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811-1812, a little known, little talked about earthquake but still the largest to hit the United States mainland. Reelfoot is also known as the lake made “the day the River ran backwards,” as the Mississippi River, disrupted by the shifting ground of the earthquake, flowed backwards into a low lying swampy area before reversing and flowing back out again. Today, Reelfoot is home to vast numbers of migratory birds and is a nesting area for bald eagles.
“Its not what you look at that matters, its what you see.”—Henry David Thoreau (from Creatingminds.org)
Taking the time to simply observe surroundings can lead to some delightful surprises. Artist’s visual skills will see the pattern or the image in unusual places every time. Designs in frost on the window, patterns in park benches, faces in trees, objects in clouds, an artist will spot the art in all quickly. Mere mortals miss what is plain to the artist.
Pbase.com sponsors The Tree Gallery where artists and photographers can submit unusual tree art, naturally occurring or touched by the artist’s hand. The trees in the gallery are amazing. One fascinating photo is an example of the phenomenon of art made my Mother Nature. “Riverside Cottonwood” by Steve Grooms is particularly bittersweet. He discovered the tree roots of a cottonwood tree recently exposed by floodwaters and finds the art in the roots. He takes the photograph that shares this unusual sight with others. A year later the tree topples over into the Mississippi River. The artist captured the vision before Mother Nature took over and it was lost forever.
The website Patternity focuses on seeing pattern all around in everyday places. The caption on the website reads, “seeing pattern everywhere—from the mundane to the magnificent.” Take a look at the photographs on Patternity to see how surrounded we are by pattern. Suddenly, a stack of chairs takes on a different feeling. A row of windows becomes a pattern to an artist’s eye. Patterns are all around us on a daily basis.
“This is part of what I mean about looking at the world with wonderment,” state authors Andy and Ali of the website ctrl-alt-travel. A look at the website reveals many instances of finding the art in the mundane. A shot of the knots in a rope, spikes in the street, park benches, art is everywhere if we take the time to look.
When in need of inspiration, observing surroundings for odd little patterns and designs is a fun game to play. Waiting in line? Play “spot the art.” Left on hold? Play “spot the art.” You never know what you might find. There are always wonderful new discoveries out there waiting to be spotted.
The tree heart is in a row of trees lining the drive to the Ocala Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida. The other shot is the “knee” of a cypress tree.