I have spent a lot of time this summer learning calligraphy. Not the typical alphabetical type. Nature calligraphy. The subtle patterns in the light and shadows that, to the human eye, are seen as leaf and branch, flower and land. When trying to paint nature scenes there are as many ways to do it as there are artists. Some times just the flow a paint across the paper, a dot, a swoosh, and it is done. Everyone who sees it knows what it represents. Other times it is painstaking details, each line and spot adjusted for color and shadow. I vacillate between one extreme and another in my paintings. I want to be accurate, so a person could look at my painting and identify this plant and that one. The trees specific varieties. The fauna the correct age and species for the location. But I also want to paint loose, flowing, expressive paintings that draw you in, that make you feel. So, learning what will make an eye see foliage, without painting every leaf is practiced. How a shadow will push forward what is next to it, giving depth to a flat piece of paper. What to include, what to just hint at, what to emphasize. All those marks on paper or canvas have to start with observations in the field. It is a lifetime of study leaving in it's wake a littering of papers and canvas strewn in my path.
I have learned that my memory isn't enough. To capture and share what I have seen requires more. You cannot write a novel by looking at some type written pages, and then freely spread some of those letters, words and groups of words on a page. You need to know what each one means. How it is written. How it works next to the other letters.
So sometimes my time in the woods is spent just looking. Taking photos of details with no intention of them, on there own, becoming any great work of art. Trying to see how the shadows play across the landscape and change everything they touch.
All of this, so when you chance to see my artwork, you might, for a moment, feel like you were there. In that place. At that time. Take time to look for the calligraphy of nature. It has a lot to say...