‘Looking forward with an eternal perspective gives one hope,
a reason to look up and feel gratitude
for even the smallest bit of light…’
Rosemary M Wixom
…another week gone, and we remain in this ‘confinement’…and each day I thank my stars that, in minutes, I can be by the river…connected to nature… As you know, sitting on the riverbank watching the daily ‘comings and goings’, is my way of finding balance; marvelling at the aerial acrobatics of the swallows and house-martins, skimming the water, drinking on the wing…seeing the yellow water-lily leaves emerging, unfurling on the surface, creating rafts upon which the moorhens balance unsteadily…as if learning to walk on stilts… And again, what I have noticed during this ‘lockdown’ period is this sense of ‘heightened awareness’…both the bigger picture and the smaller details; the river and the meadow as a whole, as well as individual elements, each plant, each bird…how the breeze, rain or sun affects the flora and fauna… Raindrops on the water’s surface, gentle ruffles of the meadow grass, early morning dew on the buttercup goblet…
…and this focussing on one particular object, noticing the finer details is a passion of this week’s ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’, Deborah Wastie – Instagram account @alchemyofordinarythings…. I was drawn to Deborah’s work by the beautiful detail and simplicity of her images (although i appreciate, achieving this simplicity can be anything but…)
Deborah lived in Cornwall from the age of 12; her mother was a landscape artist, seeing the landscape as a whole, whereas Deborah focused on drawing and designing flower images in a very graphic style.
Deborah did an art foundation year, and was undecided between pursuing graphic design or photography. Graphic design won out, but she continued with her photography…
Life in London beckoned, working as a designer and art director, until a few years ago when a change in her personal circumstances resulted in a re-focus…
A food photography course in India followed; even there, Deborah shot lots of flowers and leaves…and despite shooting many food images, her real passion is flowers or single food items…she likens the details of the flower/food item to a piece of graphic design…
I love the simplicity of the image; the colours and textures, the intricacies are just fabulous…
Deborah’s ‘studio’ sounds wonderful; a space at the top of the house, full of her props; vintage crockery, flowers, both dried and fresh, sticks and twigs, and lots of foraged ‘items’ from her travels – definitely sounds my kind of space!!
Deborah’s inspiration for simplicity and single-mindedness in an image is American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe….but she has also shot images styled in the ‘Still Life’ traditions of the old Dutch masters… Her influences come from near and far; the countryside, the beach…’Everything is an image no matter how seemingly ordinary…’
I am trying, but not always succeeding, in de-cluttering, living with less, being minimalistic – I think this is why I am drawn to Deborah’s work; looking for the wonderful in the everyday, focussing on the beauty of ‘simple’ things – a wooden platter, a spice jar, a furled leaf…a branch of honesty…a fabulous example of ‘less is more’…
Do take a look at Deborah’s Instagram feed; it really is full of the most beautiful images; old doors, dried hydrangea flower heads…shadows, patterns, a spoon and plate….
Again, my thanks go to Deborah, for allowing me to feature her in my blog and to use her images…and for her ‘ramble’ in response to my questions….always appreciated!
Obviously we are still, for the foreseeable, unable to travel, so many galleries and exhibitions are going ‘on-line’; portraits are not usually my preferred genre, but it’s always good to broaden ones horizons…so I have had a virtual wander around the BP Portrait Award 2020…
I haven’t got or read this book ‘Keep Going‘, but I have read his other book ‘Show Your Work’ – … a quick, to the point read…so I am wondering if any of you have read this one or would recommend it…
I found this quote by Austin Kleon, which I thought quite appropriate, lockdown or no lockdown; ‘ The creative life is not linear. It’s not a straight line from Point A to Point B. It’s more like a loop, or a spiral in which you keep coming back to a new starting point after every project.’
Regular readers will know that I am a fan of Erland Cooper, a Scottish musician very much influenced by nature… He has recently been working with BBC Radio 6 to produce a piece of music that highlights how sound and music can help our mental health. Listeners were invited to send in recordings of the sounds that have become more noticeable owing to the lockdown situation; Cooper then composed music incorporating these ‘field recordings’ resulting in ‘A Nightingale Sings Outside Our Window’….
If I can take a positive from the current situation, it is this widespread ‘heightened noticing’ of both the sights and sounds of our surroundings, and the more aware we are of the beauty and wonder in the smallest of things, the more we treasure them….
‘The Four Conditions of Happiness: Life in the open air, Love for another being,
Freedom from ambition, Creation…’
As ever, I hope you have found something to interest and inspire you in my musings…
Whatever you’re doing this weekend, take care,
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