This article begins a series of Covid-19 inspired musings. I will focus on photography, art, literature, music, and spiritual insights.
The posts will not necessarily follow a linear progression, as changes in our economy and new CDC rules might inspire me to jump to an event now, or to the past; September and then to March, April to November, March 2020 to November 2020. Time is an illusion, we mark it by how we spend our time, I time stamp with photos.
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. I like so many, have not traveled in over a year. Looking back, my last weekend travel overlapped with leap day February 29, 2020. Covid-19 was in its whisper stage. Leap year would become a metaphor, as its function is to slow down the calendar. And that is just what happened to the year 2020. Life S L O W E D down. This was my last weekend travel.
I was in Washington DC visiting my daughter and son-in-law, celebrating my husband’s birthday, and exploring the National Gallery of Art (NGA) —one of my favorite museums.
National Gallery of Art Inspiration
True to Nature at NGA
I try my best to incorporate seeing art when I travel. And this last travel weekend was no different. The title, True to Nature drew my attention. As a photographer who draws with light, this exhibit touched my core. The show celebrates open-air European paintings from 1780-1880. Meteorology, then a burgeoning science, inspired artists to paint in acclimate weather and transcribe storms and clouds’ moody effects. The paintings — dramatic renderings of light and shadow remain exhilarating.
A great way to learn about art and improve composition is to visit museums (virtual or in-person). Observe what has been done with a curious mind. Read about the artist’s work and motivation. A recipe for inspiration will arise. During my last travel weekend, I spent time with these paintings that will undoubtedly impact my own work going forward. Dunes, water, clouds, and trees are among the four motifs I observed on display that resonate with my own photography explorations.
The confluence of water and land beckoned artists to picturesque coastlines (NGA). Living a mile from the beach by foot, I remain drawn to the dunes and sketch with my camera how the tides, clouds, and time of day influence the coastal landscape.
Water in motion is one of the most demanding motifs to paint. (NGA). Living in an ocean town, I often visit the beach, seeking solace in its endless horizon and capturing the juxtapositions of land and sea and sky.
John Constable is often cited with his musings on the relationship between weather and cloud’s transformative power. My reading and viewing of the cloud images at the NGA provided me with a new vocabulary for my collection of clouds.
“I have done a great deal of skying…That landscape painter who does not make his skies a very material part of his composition neglects to avail himself of one of his greatest aids.”~John Constable, 1821
Considered the greatest ornament and noblest element of the landscape (NGA). I too, am gravitated to trees in an attempt to sketch with camera what I am seeing. I will return to trees in future blogs.
In foggy weather that sailors call sea mist, the water is gray and the color of the atmosphere, above all when it is tranquil; but if the sea is rough, it takes on different tones: blackish green, greenish-blue, darkened violet mixed with the foamy white of the cresting waves that grow and roll and break into each other.—Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, 1799
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