It was a shock returning from Moosonee where all that mud, ice, freezing rain, and violent river breakup action was happening. By the time I got back to North Bay, it was a sweaty 27C, and everything was GREEN. I just couldn’t get over how extreme the difference was.
Then I headed even further south to my son’s place in Cambridge, and well… it was like entering the Garden of Eden. In addition to the green, flowers were blooming absolutely everywhere! There were the usual tulips, daffodils, and other assorted marvels, but the most breathtaking were the magnolia trees and cherry blossoms on almost every street. Coco and I went for a lot of walks, and I took a lot of photos with my iPhone. What a high!
By the end of the week I was in Detroit for a family reunion on my father’s side, and that’s where the orchids really came into focus. My cousin Dana has orchids all over the house–big ones, tiny ones, pink ones, yellow ones, white ones. I couldn’t resist getting my camera out! I have an orchid at home that I’ve photographed before, but these new photos definitely nudged things to a new level.
Now of all things, and by sheer coincidence, when I got back to my son’s place on Mother’s Day, there was a lovely gift sitting in my bedroom by the window–a huge purple orchid plant. I couldn’t believe it! Sometimes certain themes have a way of throwing themselves at you… like the little store I found around the corner where a lovely Chinese woman sold beautiful orchids that she propagated herself. I’ve never been one to swoon over flowers, but everything just seems to have led to this:
Today, I had a conversation with Lonnie Schlein, and we talked about ideas for a lecture he is giving next month in Italy at an international art event. We have been preoccupied with the business of selling our art this past year — in my case, the raven series created on the iPhone, and in his case, the photographs in his touring exhibition.
I have many thoughts on the pitfalls of the commodification of art — which in my opinion has contaminated art, and exiled the muse.
It is detrimental to the creative process for artists to distract themselves with selling — what might sell, what won’t sell, what should sell, what would make something sellable, etc. Pure art comes from the soul, and its aroma is that of honesty and truth, no matter how sweet or pungent. The dollar is a false muse, the fruits of which have no scent at all, and her sister has become an endangered species.
I never realized before now the origin of the word MUSEUM — in Greek, mouseion literally means “seat of the Muses.” Hmmmm… I feel a project coming on…
The English language is peppered with metaphors, but we don’t often think in terms of visual metaphors. We hear people describing so-and-so’s nesting instincts when preparing to start a family or buy a house; we hear about the empty nest syndrome when children have gone off to university or other parts of the world; and of course most of us have grown up knowing the expression, “Nature calls.”
Experiencing nature is a delight for the senses–it is a place where smells replace words, and where colour and sound enter the psyche. It is a place of wonder and wisdom.
Corvus Familia Nidus was created on the iPhone 4 using various apps including Brushes and ArtStudio. It was part of my solo exhibition, entitled The Medium and the Message, at the AOM Gallery in May 2012.