Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ArtTrail #1 - Art Outside

In my humble opinion, the world would be a far poorer place were it not for artists and their work. For most of us, art is too often defined as something which must please us, which we understand and which we might choose to display in our homes. To my way of thinking this is a far too narrow view of art. Its greater purpose I believe (besides fulfilling a need of its creator(s)) is to stimulate our senses and emotions, cause us to perceive the world in new ways, and connect our perception of the art with other thoughts we might have. If we allow it to, art can deeply affect us to our very core, divulging parts of our world, and our very selves, that we have never seen before. Please join me on one such journey through Webster's Woods Art Park in Port Angeles, WA
First Impressions: Cute little guys. Kind of shaped at weird angles, though - don't look too comfortable to me.
Processing Further: Their soothing colors counteract the stress of their angles. If I stop trying to see them as "people" and simply observe their shapes, the curves and angles of their forms flow together beautifully and echo other shapes in the woods. I'm somehow comforted by their being here...
First Impressions: Oh wow, a huge ball of what - giant wood shavings? Some flat vines, no, rusty metal of some kind?

Processing Further: Band saw blades! In this timber-rich part of the world where would they all end up if not here? Better they should be reused in this way, carefully formed so that their colors and shapes fit in with the branches, roots and dried leaves of the forest. Oddly, they seem like they belong here, building up rather than tearing apart.

First Impressions: What's wrong with that tree?

Processing Further: Ah, just a covering that's formed along the lines of the trunk and bark. It glitters and shimmers as if the very life blood of the tree is shining forth for all to see. What a magnificent outward statement of a tree's inner vitality.

First Impressions: A giant spider web!
Processing Further: How intricately this is formed! Did the artist intently study spider webs or make it up as they went along? Oh, but there's an empty spot in the center in the shape of a perfect circle...reminds me of the child's game Cat's Cradle, where two people make shapes with string and pass them back and forth. Or perhaps a knight's hood of chain mail. One thought leads me to another... and again, it looks like it belongs here.

First Impressions: (Believe it or not, I nearly didn't see this one at first.) Whoa! Ancient dinosaur of some kind...
Processing Further: With the various open and closed patterns this blends right in with the patterns of the various tree trunks, branches, and leaves against the light sky. The lower part is reminiscent of rocks or logs lying on the ground; the upper part of leaning trees or leftover stumps...

First Impressions: All logs lead to...a tangled mess of __?
Processing Further: At first, the light-colored metal pieces appear as simply more saplings and branches in the tangled underbrush. Only as I study it do other shapes appear - an eye, perhaps, or legs braced, antennae reaching out, a swish of flukes or fins...something organic emerges from the green.

First Impressions: Strange infestation or cocoons?

Processing Further: Oddly enhancing this wonderful gnarled old tree, shapes lead the eyes upward into the branches and higher reaches where other shapes capture the imagination. The balls themselves are intriguing - found out later that they are crocheted plastic bags! Another great way to recycle, IF they are treated in some way so as not to break down into the environment.
(Artist info. at: http://www.depirro.com/)

First Impressions: A giant other-worldly plant - Oh NO, not more junk in the landscape!
Processing Further: On closer examination, each disk reflects the area around it, creating a collage or mosaic of visual delights. Shapes and colors are distorted and changed, causing one to see the world around it in a whole new way. Is this how insects see us?
Colors influence perceptions.
First Impressions: Speaking of color - crumpled metal around old posts?
Processing Further: Vivid color at that. Associations are so strong here... fellow beings... standing quietly...bundled against the weather. There is no fear, no reason to flee. We are all a part of the woods, only our raiment distinguishes us visually from "others". Best to come in peace - quietly!
First Impressions: We are not alone - here come the troops!
Processing Further: Friendly and joyful, bearing bright colors and outstretched arms these creations make me want to join hands with them and dance through the woods.

First Impressions: Less appealing, this one - towering, aloof, rigid.

Processing Further: Perhaps I need to get better acquainted; get closer, observe the finer details, see what it's made of. It certainly blends in - only a second look reveals it. Regal and majestic, I sense that loud and obvious are not the only admirable traits - there are advantages (and disadvantages) both ways.

First Impressions: Plain bare trees - a log slice with squiggles.

Processing Further: A face of some sort. On the left, the light-colored branch leaning against the large, dark tree leads the eye upward and then down along the trees to the center. Now I see other faces, many of them, looking back towards the large one. A conversation of some sort is taking place and I could be a part of it. Or am I excluded this time? The second light-colored branch on the right visually "hems in" the viewer and keeps the focus on the faces and their exchange.
"Excuse me - am I intruding?"

First Impressions: Hey! Those aren't branches - how did they do that?

Processing Further: What a lovely, rhythmic creation! The rust coloring is totally unobtrusive and blends in with the subtle shades of the surrounding woods. I am calmed by the effect and reminded of repetitions in the universe: orbits, flights, glides...so much stated without one word.
First Impressions: Yikes - that's out of place! Whoever heard of a metal plant? Ugly.
Processing Further: And, just who am I to say it's out of place? And is it really? I notice the repetition of shape, line, and texture. Its name is Albino - if I found it in my yard would I treat it differently, perhaps destroy it? Do all things need to fall in line and be like the others? Just because I don't know what it is, does not mean it has no purpose of being. Others might love it and find a use for it. It's growing on me slowly and I kind of like it!
First Impressions: Up, up, and AWAY...what is this supposed to be?

Processing Further: It doesn't need a reason other than to please the eye. I see the colors, bright and bold and echoing faintly off the distant mountains; notice the curves flowing gently from foreground and up into the trees; can almost feel the different textures of hard, smooth, soft, and rough. It makes my heart sing and I can hardly express why.
It just DOES and I just AM.
For more information on the
Port Angeles Fine Arts Center
and their
Art Outside:


  1. very nice stroll through this outdoor ART park!! loved it! unique! fun! creative!

    thanks for taking me along... :)

  2. Lovely photographs as usual. I also enjoyed your first-impressions/processing-further perspectives. There were some surprises in those processing-further comments. Thanks for the smile-makers.