The Distillation of Beauty
The woods were so lovely in the early morning light: A Mondrian in earth tones.
Bold stripes of white snow, gray tree trunks, slate sky. And leaves. Wind-bleached white gold, they broke up the straight lines with swaths of texture.
I thought of Tara Axford, who photographs her nature walks, then translates the scenes into monoprints and collage.
I thought of Anne Truitt's passage in Daybook about her daughter in the bathtub:
"I had been absorbing her brown body against the white tub, the yellow top of the nail brush, the dark green shampoo bottle, Sam's blue towel, her orange towel, and could make a sculpture called Mary in the Tub if I ever chose to. These elements arranged themselves into proportions of color, the weights of which gave me the meaning of what I was seeing."
This is the art to which I aspire: this thoughtful distillation of beauty. Not just pleasing color and composition, but the capturing of a scene to see it anew.
I bought myself a book on Amazon today: The Resourceful Artist: Exploring Mixed Media and Collage Techniques. An impractical purchase. My shelves are already cluttered with books I haven't read, espousing art techniques I don't have time to try. But they're more than just books. They're promises to myself:
The day will come when you have time to read these. When you have time to peruse their pages slowly over the course of a lazy afternoon, pausing frequently to stare into space and mull over possibilities.
The day will come, too, when I have time to create my own earth-toned Mondrian. To finally capture the way the woods looked, one spring morning, as I drove the boys to their grandmother's house before work.
Maybe not soon. But soon enough.
80/365. Image: "The Gray Tree" by Piet Mondrian, courtesy of Wikipedia.