A Little Video…and Trees

(BEFORE HITTING PLAY…scroll down and hit pause on the playlist (||) – bottom right).

For some reason, this really hit me a little more than I expected. It’s a short film that my sister forwarded to me. I thought it would be applicable to post it here, since…well…just watch it. It moved me to at least update my blog!

Maybe the film wouldn’t have made the same impression if I stayed inside all day, rather than going outside to face the heat of the NC summer. I spent the early evening pruning our crape myrtle trees and really taking time to see the beauty of the trunks…don’t get me started on “crape murder” trend around here. (Trees are my absolute favorite thing in nature.) Trees are just so gorgeous that I have to force myself to trim them. (I like them au naturel). I love how the bark on the crape myrtle trees peel away the outer layer of the muscular branches, exposing the orange-ish color of the new bark. I love it. I pruned many good sized branches and kept trying to give them to my 4 year old as walking sticks, but he quickly got bored with them. I thought to somehow incorporate the twisty branches into my art…but I’m a 2 dimensional artist and have a hard time thinking in terms of 3 dimensional sculptures. Maybe I can create a cool frame or something with them. I can’t just burn them/throw them in the woods/have them shredded/etc…what to do, what to do…

Anyway, after spending so much time outside tonight inspecting my beautiful trees (I mean, I sat down on the ground for quite some time just staring at these trees with their multi-trunks coming up from the ground, twisting this way and that, and finally drooping down with the weight of their flowers), that seeing that film makes me realize that there are people out there that are unable to see the beauty of the simple things in life…blind or sighted.

Tomorrow, maybe I’ll do some sketches of some trees.


5 responses to “A Little Video…and Trees”

  1. You know, this video really moved me as well. I am a preschool teacher so I looked at it from the perspective of children needing to experience their surroundings in order to fully learn and understand. Mixing art into that train of thought, it really calls attention to how much art is visual. I know that seems strange since it is a “visual art” but sighted people take that for granted, I think. You go to art museums and there’s “No touching” and therefore children and blind people would have a hard time enjoying such a place and that’s a shame. What I think would be great is to have a “Please Touch” art exhibit. Have the people and children (sighted or not) become part of the art itself in some way. Have them experience it beyond just painting or play-doh. Find a way to convey the boldness of reds, oranges and yellows or the tranquility of light blues or lavenders. If a person can’t look at the piece to evoke an emotion, how else can you evoke an emotion in a piece you create? Texture? Incorporating sound in some way (how would a sunset sound, for instance…is it a majestic thing or a time of sadness of another day ending)? I know this all probably sounds far out there, but I’ll bet that if you imagine you are creating a piece for an audience who can’t see it, I’m sure you can come up with something quite creative. And who knows, perhaps you’ll even figure out what to do with those crepe myrtle twigs! 🙂

  2. You’re so right about the “no touching”. Something to think about in my next piece…AND to encourage my kids to think outside of the visual part of art. Thanks for the thought provoking comment!

  3. Hi Janae,Today, I took my children to the story time at the NC Museum of Natural Science. I realized during the course of the story time that there was a small group of elementary age children….who were blind. The curator read a story about turtles and then passed around a box turtle and a water turtle (not snapping, but smaller). These children were so delightful (as most children already are) but I was intrigued with the excitement and joy they were experiencing in feeling these turtles. The curator mentioned that the water turtle’s shell doesn’t close all the way and therefore will nip at you so she was not going to let us touch the head but the rest was fine. These children were a little nervous about touching this particular turtle but with gentle encouragement from their teachers they did and delighted in it and I was struck by how much trust these children must have in their teachers. All children have to have some level of trust with teachers, caregivers, etc. but the deep connection these teachers had with their students just struck me. And all the while, I thought back to this posting and video and it hit me. These children can not enjoy anything in this museum. The whale and dinosaur skeletons that my son absolutely loves….these children can’t enjoy them…at all. We look in books and see dinosaurs and whales but it’s only when we see their skeletons that we really and truly get a good feel for how enormous these beautiful creatures are/were. How do you teach that to those children? Then I got to thinking about preschool children (2 of my children’s ages and the age group I currently work with) and realized that there are blind preschool children….is there a preschool for the blind? How do you give these children the necessary background knowledge experiences necessary for the building blocks of learning later on? So that when you hear or read a story about something being as big as a bus or as small as a mouse, you know what that is as a blind person. I loved watching the teachers interact with the children, though of course I was trying to be discreet. It has inspired me to research this further and see about this area to perhaps take my career in a different direction in the future…who knows?And also, about the crepe myrtle trees…there’s a lesson in those (leave it to the teacher to find a lesson in the pruning of crepe myrtle trees! LOL!):I too hate seeing the myrtles pruned back. My neighbor’s landscapers cut his so far back this time of year that it looks like great big sticks sticking out of the ground. But you know what? It doesn’t kill them. Try that pruning technique on most other trees and what happens? They die….most of the time. No, see, these crepe myrtles’ trunks get stronger. Their branches become more numerous and their blossoms more plentiful. Sometimes we all have to be stripped down to the core of who we are in order to become stronger and more beautiful than we ever thought possible or imagined.I hope you don’t mind, but I felt inspired to share my experiences with you today.Merry Christmas!Take care,Shauna

  4. Thanks Shauna for your moving comment! It inspires me as well! You know, this video, along with your comments really have me thinking about other ways to bring art to the blind. (And others who just want a different experience with art). I’ve researched a great deal on the abstract expressionists, but I’ve never been interested in creating anything but what’s considered “traditional”, “realistic” type art. I have seen many art installations, but never thought I had the creativity or passionate ideas to do an installaion. HOWEVER, this has sparked some really interesting ideas to be able to bring art to everyone…I’ll just leave it at that while I ponder.

  5. Yay for inspiration! If these ponderings do manifest into something, I’d love to see it, if you are inspired to share it with me. :)BTW, the flower drawings are beautiful! Are you creating a series of them? Congratulations on the selling of one of your pieces. I can imagine the excitement and thrill of having others appreciate the works you create. And the studio – absolutely awesome! I’m thoroughly impressed! :)You guys are so TALENTED!!! :)Shauna

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