“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.
Mid-October at Radnor Lake as the trees are in the beginning stages of turning. Fall wildflowers are hanging on even though the weather is cooling down.
“Cross Creek belongs to the wind and rain, to the sun and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time.” Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
There’s a place in Nashville far enough off the tourist path to remain an oasis for nature lovers and others seeking relief from the hectic pace of the daily rat race. To go there is to breathe in the scent of the flora and fauna of the woods without leaving the city. A bit of the rejuvenation coming only from Mother Nature is just a short distance from the rush hour traffic of the nearby interstate. Radnor Lake is a slice of enchantment to feed the create soul while remaining in the city.
Taking Granny White Pike toward the lake, between the old stacked -stone walls built by soldiers during the Battle of Nashville is a beautiful drive beneath towering oaks. The turn onto Otter Creek Road leads to the small parking area designated for visitors to the lake. Leaving the car and starting out up the short hill to the road beside the lake is to step into another world. The trees are a canopy overhead shading the walk. Leaves scattered over the road crunch under foot. Birds chirping replace the sounds of traffic. The woods become an enveloping blanket leaving the busyness of life behind.
Other people are present but scattered enough to keep the feeling of being in the woods from dissolving. And the people of Radnor Lake are a very respectful bunch, all seeming to have entered into the spiritual presence of a pristine natural world. The occasional bit of laughter rings out or the delighted scream of a child at the site of a scurrying chipmunk can be heard but otherwise voices do not pierce the stillness of the woods.
While ascending the hill to the lake road the other day, I spotted a man standing very quietly looking up into the woods. He was not moving a muscle. As I approached, I realized he was watching something in the woods. I slowed my pace and searched for what he was seeing. A family approaching from the other direction, stopped as well, and peered into the trees. We soon saw what the man was watching. A white tailed deer and her two almost grown babies were coming down out of the woods to cross the road to the creek below the lake. We all stood momentarily transfixed by the sight, as the deer family walked peaceably by the humans not ten feet away without a care and disappeared into the woods again on the other side. The group of humans then dispersed and walked on. The children completely quiet and still as the deer family passed, resumed their happy skipping and chatter. It was a momentary shared spiritual experience.
Radnor Lake is a place I go for soul nourishment. The trees, flowers, birds and other wildlife bring on a magical contentment. Looking out over the lake is a peaceful sight. Passing photographers and binocular-welding bird watchers along the walk, I know others are finding food for the soul, as well. Like Cross Creek, Radnor Lake belongs, “beyond all, to time.” We all need the Radnor Lake/Cross Creek places to soothe and feed our creative selves.