The Magical Shape of Things

In Creative By Nature Art Blog, Earth, Trees + Plants, Water by Lisa LipsettLeave a Comment

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Sometimes colour draws us in. Once connected we realize that it’s the shape of things that captivates. Magic happens when we suddenly start to see our shape everywhere. That’s when a new journey begins….
The BC provincial park Goldstream  was an inspiration to painter Emily Carr and for good reason. Its old growth moss covered trees and seasonal salmon run (mostly Chum) still draw visitors from far and wide. My daughter and I visited last weekend as part of a children’s wilderness skills program. We came to see vibrant red fish tenaciously pulsing and thrashing their way up stream in an annual effort to lay and fertilize eggs, only to melt back into the earth to feed birds and trees. Unfortunately this year we were too late.
Their contorted cream coloured carcasses lay motionless in the gravelly river bed. The powerful putrid smel of rot did not deter the seagull feast.
Dead Salmon
Fish Tail

I find my attention diverted from the salmon scene to the incredibly lush moss dripping from the ancient trunks and many spidery intertwined branches of fir and cedar. Like snakes these fuzzy green arms weave a mesh canopy overhead.
Mossy branches

One tree in particular calls me to her. She is a giant hollowed out Fir. She is female because I can sit inside her, cradled in her shelter, like a child warmed by a mother’s loving embrace. I love the dryness and solid silence this space offers.

Creating inside her

So I drew with this tree and her hollowed out knowing in order to share her world. I used each hand in turn first with my eyes open, then with them closed. I followed up by using both hands together with eyes opened then closed. Once I made the decision to draw I felt the soft support of the trunk and soft duff on my back and bottom. My eyes went to the patterned complexity of the burnt black and green surface close to my face. I connected with that and drew while holding that connection.

Lines and patterns inside the tree
Writing and drawing from inside the tree

The two handed drawing done with my eyes closed was  particularly compelling. It had such strong form.  Beside it I wrote: eyeballs, embracing wings, a strong base. Then on an impulse I flipped over the image and wrote: new growth from seeds.

Drawing done with both hands and eyes closed
Flipped drawing
Then I asked the tree: “what nourishes you?”
She replied: “the mist, the leaves the woodpeckers, the melting flesh, the endless drip, the blanketing moss, the smell of earthy brown.”

My creating was interrupted by the children. They dropped by to tell me they were moving to a new location. I said I’d catch up and felt compelled to move to the shore to create. When I exited the tree I noticed its other side for the first time. The strong trunk with incredible mossy branching arms had bulbous round shapes at its base, just like in my drawing.

Back side of the tree

I had not noticed the rounded shapes at the base of the trunk before. Drawing sensitized me, opening to see this form.
Once I arrive at the river I found a fleshy skeleton I liked. It reminded me of the tree trunk with a strong base and many radiating thin protruding branches.
Fish bone
I loved drawing with this bone as my eyes traced the contours and ridges. It’s the interweaving of complex little bones that attracts me most.
Drawing with the fishbone
While drswing my eye caught sight of a beautiful brown totally camouflaged little bird. Unlike the fish strewn and rotting every few feet he was swimming upstream. Dunking, diving almost, swimming in his plucky way up the ripples then just as quickly he popped up and flew away.
Little brown bird

I was startled to see this bird swim in such a forthright manner for it was not long ago that I watched a small bird die after having a near drowning experience in my pond. I made a video of our time creating together called This Little Bird. I will never forget him.

I finished the session by taking some additional fish photos.

Then ended my time in this magical place with one last sit in my favourite tree trunk. As I looked up to the sky through her cradled opening I saw not only branches interwoven in a cathedral-like window, I saw the shape of a fish! Simply lovely.
The simply beauty of creating can open us to Nature’s beauty. It doesn’t matter where we start as long as we are open to being led.
What calls to you today? Follow where it leads, create and watch your sense of the world transform in beautiful and magical ways.
Lisa LipsettThe Magical Shape of Things

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