Contemplating nature – as in spending a few days out camping, being quiet and thinking about life, trees, birds and painting titles.
While contemplating, an exciting thing happened. I had a moment of insight in how titles can suggest different meanings for paintings. I wondered, how had I not had this insight before?
So, to explain, my husband and I spent a few days last week being out by ourselves camping up in the mountains of southern Oregon. It was wonderful! We had our favorite spot on one of the small lakes nestled among the mountains.
I think the “contemplating nature” statement might need some elaboration. Before we went on our camping trip, I read John P Weiss’ blog post on embracing solitude. I took the idea of embracing nature and solitude with me on our trip. The words rolled around in my brain looking for a place to sit and add meaning.
No Television, Cell Phones Or Computers
In the meantime, it was a pleasure to be away from television, cell phones and computers. I was engaged instead in watching the behavior of the birds, of which there were plenty. We saw a bald eagle, and an osprey. Also, several herons, egrets, cormorants, white pelicans, geese, ducks, flickers, juncos and yellow rump warblers graced us with their presence. We were greeted in the evening by the snorts from deer and hoots from owls.
Put another way, we saw lots of action!
Watercolor & Ink
Naturally, while we were out camping I had to do some watercolor and ink studies. We have camped at this particular sight three times this summer. So, after setting up, I drew my favorite young pine (above), which I have posted previously in July. If you take a look at the previous posting, you might notice that the vegetation was nice and green earlier this summer. This time, the grasses and vegetation around the young ponderosa were all shades of gold.
Summer was ending and fall was beginning.
Ponderosa Pine And Hornet Trap
Yes, the young ponderosa pine has a hornet’s trap attached to one of its lower limbs. It seems that the hornets come out in August and September. At least, that’s when the young pine was adorned with a hornet trap. If you look at the drawing below, there is a squiggly line with some yellow to indicate the hornet trap. If you’re having trouble seeing the trap, look at the lower right limbs.
The first drawing of the day, (see above) I deleted the hornet trap as part of “artistic license”. When my husband looked at the pine, he suggested a title of “Hornet Trap”. But, I hadn’t drawn any indication of the hornet trap, so I thought I best draw it again. This time, I drew some squiggles for the trap.
Titles And Meaning
Huh? And hmmm. The suggestion started a discussion about titles. Does a title of “Hornet Trap” make one think a little? Does it change the meaning of a painting of a pine?
In front of our camp site, there was a field of drying mullein. Beyond the mullein was the lake with a row of snags. Robert suggested a title of “Abandoned Water Wells”.
Abandoned Water Vessels or Mullein and Snags
What? Abandoned water wells? I don’t see any water wells, I thought to myself. And, then, I got it and I liked it. Yes, there are lots of abandoned water wells right in front of me! Didn’t the mullein collect water from the earth by its roots and carry the water to its crown? How about the snags – when they were living trees, did they not transport water up the tree to the leaves or needles? I was beginning to see! And, the more I contemplated the life of the mullein and the snags, the more I smiled.
Doesn’t “Abandoned Water Wells” sound more interesting than “Mullein and Snags”? We played with words a bit and decided on “Abandoned Water Vessels” since plants are vessels. That is to say plants are containers or receptacles for water. Plus, the water is carried up the plant to the top by vessels. Kind of exciting; isn’t it fun how word can have multiple meanings?
Applies to Blog Titles Too!
The discussion had me thinking about titles and how they can add meaning or cause us to look at the subject different. Speaking of titles, the same thought might apply to blog titles, titles of books or songs; pretty much anything that has a title.
Oh, I just had a thought, does the inverse hold true? What I mean is, does a painting without a title lose potential meaning?
Good Bye Summer, Hello Fall
I wonder if the relative solitude of the lakes and mountains added to our free-thinking discussion about titles and meaning. It certainly seemed to help.
All in all, embracing solitude and contemplating nature was an excellent way to end the summer and greet the fall. I came home rested and happy.
PS: Website Update
Since we have come home, my husband has been working hard at updating my gallery website, Dancing Clouds. I’d like to invite you to take a look and I hope you enjoy the view! Thank you!