While I have always found solace in nature I didn’t fully understand it’s powerful impact on me until I was compelled to remain at home.
With so many days spent listening to the stories of this pandemic I have been feeling blessed to have images of nature to quiet my mind.
Just before the stay at home order was enacted I brought some of my works home from the gallery downtown and my wife and I have been living with them in the house. I think to really understand and appreciate art you have to live with it awhile and start to recognize how it impacts you whenever you enter into sight of it. Each room has an energy that is created by the colors of the walls and furnishing, but the deeper emotional impact comes from the artwork.
Humans perceive 3d space, color, and movement in different parts of the brain. We respond to black and white images in the same part of the brain where spatial information is stored and this is where we get our sense of our existence in the world.
It is with this in mind that I make my artwork as a means of inspiring a sense of self awareness and calmness like a meditation practice.
This image from my Primordial series has been in my living room where my wife and I meet for coffee every morning before I go downstairs to my office and darkroom and she goes upstairs to her office. The richness of the tones soothes our spirits as we talk about the news and check in with each other about what our family needs.
I made this image from six frames stitched together while at the Hilo Botanical Gardens in Hawaii. The engulfing beauty of the lush forest was far too much for a single image to capture so I cast a wider net with the help of panorama techniques. The original image can be made up to 8 ft wide by 4 feet and I may have to consider making one if this shelter in place order lasts much longer.
There is scientific research that shows that images of nature can induce alpha waves in the brain that restore our sense of wellbeing. In a sense it is nature that can rescue the spirit in a time of trial.
On the other side of equation are the beta waves induced by the blue UV light of screen technology that induces stress and anxiety. The Z generation is known to have the highest rate of diagnosed anxiety disorders that is commensurate with their having grown up in the era of social media and an “always on” screen world.
Apparently there is so much UV light coming from a single computer screen that a photographer in North Dakota made a Tintype portrait of a person on a video chat with an exposure of only 60 seconds. That image would normally take 10 minutes under studio lights and 2-5 minutes outdoors depending upon the UV conditions and time of year. The intensity of the screen light and the media we are absorbed in right now is powerful and damaging to our health and sense of wellbeing.
It is in the spirit of seeking to help you take a break from all the stressors by sharing some of my artworks in hopes of giving you a little break from the strains of our time.
For me the silver lining in all of this is the heightened sense of interconnectedness and the need for self care and concern for the wellbeing of others.
Be well my friend.