Variegated Oak Leaf Curtain

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    This turned into yet another two day search for the sun.

    I recently read someone's blog entry about my Rowan Berry Swoosh sculpture and they wrote "tedious work I'd expect but worth it."

    It rarely is tedious, though sometimes it most definitely is. But instead it can be quite exciting. Because I rarely plan what I am going to make and change and adapt as I am making something then I don't know at all how it will turn out until near the end. And as I approach the end a feeling on excitement deep within begins to build, as I start to see the final effect. Often it doesn't take on the level of vibrancy or symmetry that I am striving for until the very last component is completed. Sometimes it is like a switch going on, right at the very end, and suddenly everything falls into place. It can be quite unexpected and surprising but nearly always thrilling too.

    A fundamental part of my leaf and light sculptures is the sun. I may combine leaves, wood, thorns and other natural elements together but they are not complete until they are put in the right position, in the right place, with right light and the right surroundings. Sometimes this comes easy, sometimes it is incredibly difficult. And sometimes the search for the sun can be very tedious. But as that blogger wrote - worth the wait. And the longer I have to wait the bigger the buzz when I finally combine all the elements together and that switch is flicked and the sculpture comes alive.

    It's that extra notch that I strive for. The difference between an ordinary sculpture and something with a bit more life. It doesn't feel right unless that light comes on.

    I sometimes worry that my photography looks a bit artificial, messed with, overly saturated or unreal. It is important to me to never fake what I do, as there would be no point in demonstrating any skill if it could be dismissed as photoshop trickery. My photos sometimes look unreal because of the effort I go to to search for the right place, the right light and conditions that will combine with my sculpture to show it at its best.

    However there is an ilk of internet lurker who think everything is photoshop trickery or everything is fake. One of my photos of a rock stack was on Reddit this week, and I was quite tickled by the comment "The middle has a thin metal pole holding it all together, you can see it if you zoom in. Zoom in and look at the bottom 3 rocks, and the set of rocks 3rd up from the bottom."

    'I've been rumbled, thank god for the internet police! I would have got away with it if it wasn't for those pesky kids!' No, but really, it would be much more difficult to go to the beach, find a load of rocks, drill holes in them and then build them up, where would the fun be in that! My advice to the internet sceptics is get out there and make your own rock stacks. It's kinda fun, not very difficult and a whole lot more interesting than land art conspiracy theories! Can you see a metal pole in this!

    But land art begins with nature and what might not be obvious in what you see is what i learnt about these leaves. Whilst searching for acorns for the Sessile Oak Spiral I found two Oak trees, one with yellow variegated leaves the other with green. I am not sure why these were different from the rest, the only difference I could see was they were perched on top of a small crag and perhaps they were starved of necessary nutrients. But whatever the reason their leaves were beautiful and so I collected some for later.

    By trying to create a symmetrical and uniform square shape I had to try and make each small square the same and by doing this I deepened my relationship with the leaves.

    With organic growth there is an infinity of minute differences and as I cut a square out from each leaf I learnt how some were straight, some had a bent central vein, some the lobes cut in too deeply and some were too short. In a nutshell I had to inspect each leaf I looked at to discover its structure, shape and colour and better understand the diversity and variation in the leaves of two specific trees.

    It is not a robotic process of simply selecting square after square and then sticthing them together. No, it is a process of appreciating and understanding each individual leaf and with it the beginnings of understanding the tree which bore those leaves. By chasing after form and symmetry I was rewarded with knowledge and experience of these trees and their leaves.

    There is nothing tedious about this. Nothing in nature is the same. Each thorn, leaf and berry is subtly different from the next. Each day, hour and minute is different from those that preceeded them. And each new experience and new discovery is fresh fodder for the interested mind. Nature is endless and fascinating even if you are just looking at a single leaf.

    So after trying the day before to unsuccessfully find the sun, I tried again before breakfast the next day and the early morning light was perfect and the swicth flicked and all the elements came together once more.

    In other news this week I am rapidly approaching the age where I must be permanently grumpy and have to whinge about everything (some might say I am already there)! So I am sorely tempted to have a bit of a rant and here's why:-

    My photographs often get nicked and used without my permission. I do like people to ask and if it is for your blog and you want to talk about land art then I generally grant permission. But this week I've found three universities using them, but if that wasn't bad enough I found three artists organisations advertising land art workshops using my pictures, one of them lifted 15 images and an entire article about teaching kids land art! There was no credit given at all, no permission sought and they were using my pictures to advertise their own workshops! If they are any good at land art you'd think they'd have some pictures of their own and you'd think an artist may have more respect another persons work!

    I've never wanted to watermark my images as I want you to see them as they should be seen but I am getting close to feeling like I have to. If you all prefer that I didn't then say so and I'll reconsider.

    Right, I'm off now to shout at the traffic/neighbours/wildlife/sky/helicopters/general public.

    Peggy_V, ilona.., Cozy Memories, and 40 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. ilona.. 46 months ago | reply

      So beautiful so sunny ! Amazing work again. What patience, it's so creative !

      I can understand your frustration and agree with Peggy_V : you must protect your beautiful photos. Unfortunately, there on flickr we are not protected against theft :-(

    2. Cozy Memories 46 months ago | reply

      looks like a beautiful stained glass piece, or a lovely, modern patchwork piece
      it really is really nice & really interesting to look at & observe
      I do understand all the feelings you've expressed here, specially when you said "each new experience and new discovery is fresh fodder for the interested mind. Nature is endless and fascinating even if you are just looking at a single leaf."
      I couldn't agree more. Sometimes I wish you'd make a book with all the experiences (all the text you write) you've been getting since you've started doing land art.
      I didn't know that Reddit place ... but from what I just looked, it looks like BS, and nothing more. On the internet, there is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, very unfortunately. My best friend (you know her too) has to deal with the bad & the ugly on a regular basis, and it breaks my heart for her. I wish all these people got a life instead of spreading negative vibrations all around them (or instead of doing the wrong things -like stealing or copying work-)
      If you feel the need to watermark your photos, do it, only do what your heart tells you to do. It won't affect the beauty of what you've made. And we, your fans, will still be here & enjoy them.
      PS : you're not grumpy, simply realistic. That's not the same thing.
      Take care :)

    3. Seeds of Inspiration 46 months ago | reply have inspired me once again. Your work is magic and therefore if you watermark your images I fully support you. But they borrowed your images (without asking) because your work is truly amazing... :-) AMAZING!!!! :-) :-) made my day....

    4. dreamwaters 46 months ago | reply

      Escher Still Alive
      I'm so glade because you bring so much life into this world!!!

    5. jenny lee fowler 46 months ago | reply

      "and by doing this I deepened my relationship with the leaves." Thanks for sharing what you do. It is remarked and appreciated.

    6. Jo Sanderson-Mann 46 months ago | reply

      everyone has said it already. I agree with them all. This is very profound. I admire what you do so much and wish I could go out and do similar things. You are inspiring. Your writing is always insightful

    7. Bdis 46 months ago | reply

      Wonderful leaf "patchwork "

    8. CharestStudios 46 months ago | reply

      Beautiful! Excellent work.

    9. faun_haert 46 months ago | reply

      those organizations and universities owe you some money
      for use of your images and article.

      it does look like you need to water mark things
      because they are being unethical crooks.

      what they really need to do is invite you to go & teach land art
      they already know you are articulate enough!

      it used to be
      those that can- do art
      those that can't- teach,
      now its
      those that can't teach steal?

      don't stop making art
      but make it a little less available
      to the light fingered.

    10. PLUMe - land art 46 months ago | reply

      we can see the structure of the leaves

    11. escher is still alive 46 months ago | reply

      Thanks Peggy, you are doing a better jon than me. I became a curmudgeon soon after birth!

      Thanks Ilona, I hate watermarks and feel they detract but despite resisting strongly I've relented and think that I should.

      Thanks Kath! I've been offline since our convo. the other day. Will reply in a bit.

      Why thank you DW!

      Thanks Jenny.

      Thanks Jo.

      Thank you!

      Glkad you like it, fiddly bugger it was!

      Thanks for the support. I think many people don't see anything wrong with taking photos, they don't even give it a passing thought. I'm so reluctant to watermark but it has become necessary. I really don't get people nicking them to advertise their own workshops, it is so against the ethos of land art that I was quite shocked at their attitude! I guess I am a bit naive.

      Leaves are so beautiful, I will never tire of them.

    12. Observing MIF 46 months ago | reply

      Watermarks certainly spoils images a bit. It distracts the viewer from their general idea, steals away the peace that has always been there in your pictures. But if you must... it's still good that you share them anyway.

    13. ir0ny 45 months ago | reply

      Another lovely picture of a beautiful and cleverly created work of art. You keep doing it and I'm sure by now you have enough to make a book. There are many landart books about now and quite often I find the images uninspiring whereas you seem to produce really good stuff again and again. That people and organisations would steal your work without at the very least crediting you is very disappointing though actually not that surprising to me.

      I work at a college and help teach about plagiarism and copyright breach so to hear that universities are doing this is quite shocking. They should know better. Have you written to them? I think I would.

      Sadly I think you SHOULD use a watermark in light of your comments, I have done in the past.

    14. escher is still alive 45 months ago | reply

      Thanks Irony. I did write to the Universities, one wrote back and apologised saying someone did something on their own and did not follow the proper procedures. The others took the content down and send absolutely nothing. I too am not surprised and have benefitted greatly from exposure on the internet so I certainly don't complain about all uses, but some really are out of order!

      BTW I'm on my fourth book now, plus two for kids. Shame Blurb self publishing prices are so high as I think they are quite good, especially the last two Transience and Flux, even if I do say so myself! I am a land art fan first and foremost and it is such a thrill to see your own work in print and on the occasion when someone buys one, well, the thrill is something else. Never thought that would happen! the full previews are on over at Blurb so they can be read online in their entirety.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    15. tteerriitt 45 months ago | reply

      your work touches my heart and allows my soul a point of before returning to the man made realm...

    16. gjarvi 43 months ago | reply

      Fellow leaf light lover... thank you for your beautiful work and sharing it so freely. Do what you must. Perhaps there is a balance. Watermark some, not others. Unfortunately, many people do not understand that what artists do is their WORK. I am grateful for the beauty you see and then offer back to us. If Nature has eyes, you bring Her great joy in the camaraderie of your creations.

    17. twnklmoon 43 months ago | reply

      You have once again inspired me. What can I do with Aspen leaves? They are about to change to bright yellow

    18. cuccuruccu 41 months ago | reply

      Greaaaaat work

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