It's amazing how vast the world is on a micro and macro scale. Lauren and I began discussing different theories on how to comprehend it all visually. There is so much to take in with the human eye, so much to study, it's very easy to get lost and overwhelmed. So how do you begin to draw a forest scene? We agreed that it is necessary to abstract and simplify to some degree, because the rocks are too numerous to count, along with the leaves and vines, and the list goes on.
But I always think of the Pre-Raphaelites and their mimesis approach. In fact, I saw a pool of water and was holding my breath, expecting to see Millais' Ophelia float by at any moment (it's funny how I think in terms of paintings...) But, thinking in terms of paintings could also help one enrich their sense of what to look for in nature. Hmm, it's cyclical in the sense that the power of art is that it is eye-opening, but the artist must first figure out what portion of the world to paint and how to paint it.
As I was walking along a narrow trail, I also thought of William Wordsworth and how he would walk the Lake District every day, thinking of the most simple yet beautiful poems to describe his surroundings. I remember reading a suggestion somewhere in the book, The Art of Travel, that while out in nature, you should give yourself the creative task of verbally describing what you're experiencing to add another dimension of understanding. I find this to be challenging since I am more visual than verbal, but it does provide a means to consciously observe nature, which makes it all the more memorable. I wish I could have sat down in one place for an hour to take it all in and write it all down.
Next week I am going to June Lake for 5 days with a few friends of mine. I can't wait to be up in the fresh air! I think I'm going to bring some Wordsworth poetry with me. Until then, check out these pictures from my hike. It's awesome to me to think that, right NOW, at this very moment, this waterfall is falling out there. You just have to get up, go outside and visit it.
...how oft, In darkness, and amid the many shapes
Of joyless day-light; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart,
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee
O sylvan Wye! Thou wanderer through the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee!