Friday, March 19, 2010

Dialoguing with Nature

“Wait. Observe. If you are very still, not impatient, quietly receptive, at some point Nature will make the first move to initiate the conversation. To the exact degree and moment that you are ready to receive, Nature will ever so slightly disturb the equilibrium between the two of you, will reach toward you.” – Peter London

Today was so warm again that I could actually sit in the hammock and read outside (a rarity in West Marin). Peter London’s Drawing Closer To Nature: Making Art in Dialogue with the Natural World is a book I bought a few years ago, and today it yelled at me from the bookshelf – “Read me!” I am so glad it did. He writes so well about how to attune oneself as an artist to the natural world and to use that connectedness to nature as a way to make deep, authentic and meaningful work.

Inspired by him and by my respite under the pear tree yesterday, today I began a conversation with the apple trees in my garden. I had a vision of the trees themselves acting like easels. I went outside with a big white piece of paper and used the recently trimmed sapling branches to weave the paper onto one of the trees. I had brought crayons and pencils and pens, thinking I would draw. But something magical happened as soon as I attached the paper. The wind blew and the tree's own shadow danced across the paper – like a photogram. I went running back to the studio for my camera and shot 80 pictures of paper dancing in the wind – one of them here. I have no idea where this is taking me, but it feels fresh and exciting. I look forward to where this conversation with the apple trees will take me next.


Elsa Kendall said...

Danny, this sounds idyllic. Thank you for posting this and for the book quote. I send you greetings from Santa Fe under a foot of snow! Happy Equinox. :)

Mary Daniel Hobson said...

Elsa, so glad you enjoyed the quote - wishing you much joy and coziness in the snow.

kaybradner said...

I love the shadow on the paper. beautiful!