marsh with egret / art theory

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This is watercolor with Inktense pencils in the grass. I’m not sure if I should work on the egret more or stop now.

When I see a beautiful place like this, I want to paint all of it. I wonder why the trend in art is to simplify. I need bigger paper so I can put more of the scene in the picture.

My theory is this, if an artist’s life is complicated they feel the need to simplify their art. Most peoples’ lives are complicated. My life is so extremely simple most people would die of boredom. That’s why I enjoy the complexity of nature so much.

I look at this scene and think about things like, that’s a great habitat for an egret but inhospitable for a human. How many snakes are down there? How many of those snakes are poisonous? Is the light better in the afternoon? Because the parking spot close to my little overlook will be full and I’ll have to walk a mile with my art supplies if I don’t get there early. Why did the trees die? An inlet is on the other side of that row of trees and the path floods. Did the marsh water get saltier, killing trees? Or did beetles do that? I might never know the answers to my questions but that’s the kind of things my mind goes to.

Since my life is so simple, I feel like my mind is more balanced, thinking about simple questions and not stressing about serious problems. It makes me look slow in comparison to other artists. I can’t call myself “prolific” because it takes a week to finish a watercolor. That’s ok. If I was an artist that felt compelled to make art in some type of frenzied state, (the other extreme)  that would be unbalanced for me.

As always, feel free to opine.

12 thoughts on “marsh with egret / art theory”

  1. I really like this piece. The egret looks unfinished (to me), but I immediately interpreted this as an intentional and interesting choice. I also like how you compare your complex thoughts about nature with a simple life. Great post all around.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This work is wonderfully balanced between sky, trees and land. When I saw the egret, I thought: how interesting that she left it unfinished and tentative because she is making a statement about the precarity of this particular ecological system.

    Your theory about simplicity and complexity is interesting also. I am always staggered by how complicated the natural world is but yet it persists and, usually thrives. This piece points to its complexity and is a wonderful composition.

    Liked by 2 people

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