This is the second of a series of 5 posts expanding on questions people have asked me when discussing my work and artistic experiences. They are published as part of my exploration of the creative life.
I like landscape photography, because I started my life in nature, wandering and exploring places I should not in retrospect have gone. Thankfully and mercifully I am here to tell the stories!
Until I began to acknowledge and explore the artistic impulses seeking expression within my soul later in life, I had no words or means to share these experiences. I was drawn to photography, because it seemed to capture a moment in time. Perhaps I thought (early in this journey), I could share a moment of experience in that image captured by the camera. At the time though I had no training in the language of art.
So started my journey into photography. It started with great interest but was stymied by lack of training and technical issues, eg. the darkroom. I never liked the darkroom.
I was not drawn to painting, because it seemed too removed and too contrived from my experiences in nature. I needed something of the reality I had seen as a basis of my work. I could imagine making a painting without ever having an experience in nature. That just didn't seem right to me at the time. I needed a more "realistic" connection to begin to share these experiences. So I thought early on.
After many years of reflection and learning, I now strive to show the rawness of my experiences, presenting myself into the face of the natural world...alone and beyond all sorts of preconceived ideas and influences of previous experience. It is a sort of deconstructionism of my own conscious and cognitive life for the past 40 years. It is the result of many years of personal and professional experience.
I now have the words, concepts, and forms to share my experiences. I could not have done this earlier in life when the creative impulses began to emerge. I had to spend decades understanding the science of medicine and nature and the critical application of thinking to the experiences of life. I also needed friends, who saw and accepted the discomfort of my struggles and remained my friends.
So only now in the latter third of my life can I express art from the edge of my experience, when what I have learned about life can fall away and still leave me breathing. Never can I leave the rational, the scientific, the linear thinking of logic. Those ways of understanding are too deeply embedded to ignore. So I seek to share what is a combination of conscious understanding with what arises spontaneously from what is not know and, hence, unconscious.
We are all built to interpret our basic and primary experiences into some sort of meaningful understanding of what just happened. I seek to move away from those automatic interpretations in a contemplative way. That way I can experience what is uniquely mine to see and feel and later share.
What is landscape art from someone, who leaves the built-in need to interpret what is experienced? What does that look like?...one person showing their experience before it is interpreted.
That is what I convey in my art. I go to known places to bring back what is unknown, new, and unique. Because that is the way I present myself in those places.