Every year in the spring and autumn, I go to the Discovery Gardens in Dallas to buy my fair share of plants. This year, I bought mostly milkweed as I am starting a garden next year with milkweed and passionvines.
I enjoy wildlife gardening and much of what my art derives from nature and enjoying plants. I have always loved science and planting for wildlife while photographing and writing about them allows my art and science to merge.
Out of the cold, the remnants of melting snow,
The crackling of ice on pavement
a familiar sound of birds…
I was seeking peace,
doves above me, rise and fall
the sound of morning
and all I needed was peace
I have been isolated for the last four days. I feel like my whole life is a reboot with snow and ice as the catalyst.
It’s embarrassing, a comparison of New York in the snow versus Texas, but this isolation is everything I needed to recreate myself or maybe, more like get back to the person lost in the turmoil of daily life.
The sound of toil on a telephone pole
the incessant builder,
digging a hole.
I was seeking purpose
nothing stops in nature, every Machine
says its so, I was desperate for purpose
with no specific place to go
How often do you listen to the sound of nature, the cracking of snow, the sound of birds, it is a simple, easy and yet so difficult for most of us. Our lives are filled with things that need to be done.
Sometimes the greatest accomplishment is simply stopping long enough to listen, to hear our inner child. This is something I’ve been struggling with for many months.
The richness of red in a winter landscape
remembered as a child, they call them a soul
a high pitched chip as I walk home
the realization of joy, is knowing
we’re never alone
so why do we feel so, alone
I’ve been fighting depression for all my life, in the last few months, it’s been a constant. Even while I was doing what I love, going places and exploring the road, depression kept a hold on me.
This morning, the chore of walking the dog introduced me to my young self, a need I might have overlooked, the simple act of listening to the birds finds peace. The next obstacle or summit is probably joy-that has more to do with God than nature.
I was seeking silence,
I was wanting joy, a familiar soul
in the sounds of birds among the trees
a small child I used to know
Today I remember why it’s difficult to pick up painting. Many of the images I’m working on are from a while ago, they’ve been slowly forming and the original inspiration is a bit foreign at the moment.
I tend to start painting by pushing paint instead of painting from inspiration, it is obvious to my subconscious when I am not painting from the right place.
An image becomes clearer when my strokes become autonomous, I don’t have to think about what goes where. Compositions tend to create themselves.
Today, was hit or miss for a while and I fell in and out of the zone. I worked on several paintings and finally got my stride but I realize I have to have my space in order before I start, getting into that subconscious state is interrupted by chaos and disorder, something my writing often benefits from.
I am continually exploring and learning about the creative experience and how the brain processes. As long as I’ve been doing this, it always intrigues me with periods of block and then intense inspiration.
This is a large pastel inspired by the image of a single light illuminating an upstairs room at a nearby townhouse in Rowlett-actually the scene was pretty much unchanged only simplified.
I felt a feeling of haunting when I first saw it. I wanted the viewer to question the scene-who’s in the room?-there is a mystery about a window in the darkness. The sunflowers brings your attention in and lead your eye along the fence.
Sometimes images create themselves and all the artist does is capture what they see-parts of the scene are simplified or exaggerated for the effect and to control the eye of the viewer and how they perceive the scene.
What is obvious to the artist is not always what the viewer will see-they make their own impression from the image and hopefully a hint of what the artist inspiration remains in the final rendering.
Below is the second in the series, again a very large pastel. Each of these include plants that are my favorites in the garden, the sunflower and the passionvine-each are symbolic in their own right and although I don’t often paint flowers, the ones I choose tend to be significant to me-either I have them in my wildlife garden or they have a symbolic meaning to them.
The passionvine represents Christ, although there is nothing specifically religious about the bottom painting, I like the passionvine for its uniqueness and symbolism.
I still feel like both of these will probably be revamped as paintings. My initial image of the bottom pastel was originally darker and the passionvines stood out larger and more vibrant. I kind of got lost in the clouds, I will paint probably a smaller version of it with larger flowers, a less awkward smaller house and a late evening time frame.
The following images are more sunflower paintings that have been created since this initial group of paintings.
It’s been a productive year but it’s also been very stressful. Chasing after your passion can be very intimidating, it is not the norm and it doesn’t fit into the stereotypical life.
Many times you are out on the limb but actually you are doing what you always said you would: daring to embrace the extraordinary life. The freedoms I have experienced this year have allowed me to find great bits of nature all around the DFW area.
2018 I feel like I have truly found my niche. Nature has always been my inspiration but I am find more options for not only the light interaction but abstract patterns. April brought the rain and I was out finding images to capture.
I have truly become a solo hiker and have spent much time finding excuses to go back to the places where I used to run insurance appointments. It is a liberating feeling to be able to photograph and explore alone and having much time to reflect on what exactly a photo by Artbygordon looks like.
I am increasing my interest in finding light in the bleakest days. There is no time or place where the richness of light speaks to me than when it is unexpected.
I finally made it to the Frank Buck Zoo. I’ve also had many trips to Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, Parkhill Prairie, Sulphur River and the Caddo Grasslands in northeast Texas.
Every place I visit I find new nature subjects and learn more about their habits. I watched cliff swallows dig for mud on the sulphur river and watched them build their nests while I searched for fossil Belemites.
This whole year has been a learning and growing experience for me, staying up to date with video, graphics and even 3D imaging, I continue to grow my craft while exploring avenues in Photography.
I Illustrated my first children’s book with R.L. Clayton. I have also worked with a local leader to get her marketing materials for her new church she is gathering: It has truly been a blessing as I continue to grow my small but loyal group of clients.
I got back to the Bluebonnet trails in Ennis and the bluebonnets were quite amazing. It’s amazing how many people go down to see the spectacle, the hardest task was not to let the people steal the show. It was a wonderful afternoon.
April and May were busy as I continued to work freelance while traveling to places to gather photography. The brand is growing and I am developing the look and feel of the site.
The one thing that has never changed and will never change is my interest and passion for nature. It is my solace and keeps me grounded. I am planning on traveling much more in 2019.
I am a kayaker and much of my study of water has come from my time kayaking. The experience of emerging in nature, the silence and calm of the water, the many moods of the sky and the beauty and depth of reflections in the surface of a still lake.
I will start adding a new post and new information about old and new paintings. I’ll include the medium, size of the painting, availability of prints and commission work.
As new posts are added, the homepage will reflect the new images and new or old reintroduced paintings. I am grouping paintings into subject matter which is sporting art, original oils of water, original pastels of water and artwork of the night sky, both of which are my specialties.
I will have added options for new paintings and services and new posts will introduce a new or updated service or group of paintings.
The Iris is one of the easiest plants, it grows, doesn’t necessarily flower, but when it does-it can be quite dramatic. It rises from the garden before all the other plants have even sprouted.
The purple flowers are from plants that have been sitting in an old pot forever-I’ve only seen them flower once in several years but this year-there are 9 separate flowers.
This will definitely be a series of paintings I am planning. I love the way the light catches the fragile blooms. It is light we seek in painting and photography and this flower delivers it so perfectly for the camera.
I also like the almost abstract parts of the flower, when like touches the pedals, it creates a whole new dimension to the image. Even the buds create their own interesting design almost like a pupae that turns into the butterfly.
If you saw my garden you wouldn’t think much of it, it’s not contained, manicured, you might even call it a jungle of weeds.
Every plant I grow has a purpose for some species of wildlife. Every year I get closer to a more perfected garden but through the summer heat, I lose time or interest and it becomes an overgrown mess again.
This year, I am going back to the basics, raised beds, the usual plants but less of them.
I see so many connections between life and a garden, there are seasons for everything. So many wisdoms come out of the dirt-last years dead leaves are food for tomorrow’s plants.
Every plant has a purpose and a time for everything and they compete for their own space in a garden, their own voice-whether it be the nectar they supply pollinators or the purpose they serve in changing the soil.
We could learn a lot from a garden-we all have purpose, with patience and the tenacity of a petulant weed-we must wait painstakingly forging our place in this garden until the garden becomes us.
Every dead shoot holds the possibility for something tomorrow, I see possibilities in every season. So much about myself I’ve learned from gardening.
Just one visit to a Monet exhibit and I’ve found a different way to see or to render what I want to explore. I’m not arriving at one new place, it’s more like being unafraid to explore color and form freed of the restraints of realism.
Today was one of the most enjoyable times for painting, I’ve allowed strokes to be violent and free, allowed paint to glob onto the canvas and all I can say I’m allowing some play in my technique.
There is a great freedom of moving paint around without a distinct image, in fact, the reason I don’t paint for long periods is the image hasn’t gelled enough. The figure staring across a landscape is a first in a series of blue hue paintings focusing on loneliness and isolation.
Just like an ice age, I am slowly coming out of quite a dark one and the light in the painting is a hint of light and hope. I am excited about my paintings combining with my words. Let’s see where this goes.
Artbygordon: Original oils on canvas, Original pastels on paper celebrating the beauty and mystery of nature. Water and night skies are my specialties.