Wild Blossoms

ColourField_Blossoms1As I sift through my photographs I realize that they are often much more painterly than many of the paintings I have made. I guess I have done enough ‘making of photographs’ that it becomes easier to let go – to be experimental – to play.

Somehow in all that play we stumble across visuals that lure us in and keep us going.  That keep us making. Images that express something we want to say or something that we feel even if those things are not easily put into words. It is a beautiful thing to be completely drawn in by what you are working on; to be lost in images and ideas and explorations.

I suppose I am trying to get through a painting ‘slump’ as I look at the many abandoned works littering my studio. Those canvasses seem to be getting impatient, though. I hope at some point the freedom I feel when wielding a camera will shift into a paint brush, or a pencil. These photographs I have been working on are nudging me towards something more tactile; not attempts to recreate what I have done photographically – though surely these things speak to each other – but to push past the stumbling block of expecting perfection and specific outcomes when I put a brush to canvas.  This is what I am learning – let go. There is nothing to lose, really, except the risk of getting lost in the work.

From the photographic series ‘Colour Field’
© Karen McRae, 2014

43 thoughts on “Wild Blossoms

      1. You’re welcome….and you’ve done some remarkable work with birds in the past…I’ll look forward to your next project. 🙂

  1. Yes, that’s EXACTLY it, Karen! I think it’s an almost universal issue – learning to let go, and to accept the mantra ‘process NOT product’! So important, and it’s such a huge block sometimes. Keep going. Your photographic work is a testament to your talent and ability to really see – it will come!

  2. Nothing to lose at all. I do the same with many different series, a different choice of media, dabbling in printmaking or photography. One informs the other, and it all frees me. I love the power and color in this image. An unearthing or birth of something new;)

    1. Thank you, Anthony. I generally feel like I’m fumbling around in the dark when I write but I like that process too. Often I delete everything I write and just post images!

  3. Both the image and the words express what is beyond grasping and forcing into life. These free images go beyond the literal and are beautiful to look at and accept for what they are. Thank you Karen for pushing beyond the boundaries.

  4. Yes, letting go—sounds so easy, can be so hard. Your message is something we all need reminding of from time to time. And when we hear that others—whose ability we are certain of—are struggling, we can imagine that others may be certain of our ability even as we struggle in that slump. Thank you for this writing.

  5. I can only imagine how gorgeous your paintings are…..your photography is amazing! I love the soft, yet abstract, nature of this image!

  6. Whatever medium we use , we are always functioning as artists…I have a really nice drawing table which was given to me at the beginning of the year which I still haven’t used… Stunning image, the feeling of depth draws you into the image. 🙂

  7. Hey,draw and shoot, thank you for your comment on my Shredding Skirt blog! I love how you “got ” it! I have been following you for a while and I loved your series of photos shot from the moving car. The finished product was very wistful to me. I don’t know how you arrived at this one, but it has the same quality. Movement and airy-ness!

  8. It’s hard to believe that you are having any kind of slump, your work is so beautiful. Creating is really a fumbling, difficult thing, play is often the way through. Good luck!

  9. I like what you say … everything! I have jumped from one artistic medium to another to another many times, seemingly at the whim but it was honestly like I came to a full stop. And each of them took up my entire passion. Then … it was over. Now, it’s different. I paint (sometimes) because it’s fun and I don’t take it seriously; but the results can be nice. I think the two go together, for me. Funny, I tried to wield a paintbrush like a coloured pencil and the result was appalling, so I scribbled it out with house paint and big house paint brushes, and voila, the beginnings off strait canvass, which is now a thing for me! I really like what annerose has said! Love to you, dear creative spirit 🙂 xox

  10. This certainly is a painterly work Karen – rich and enigmatic. I love what you are saying about the value of play, and the pleasure of getting lost within an idea, creating in such a natural way. I am sure this is how the most personal and unique work emerges. Good luck with transferring these energies into your painting and drawing.

  11. In front of canvases don’t search for results, just play with the brush as you play with your camera. It is like we should forget all our seriousness when creating, this kind of seriousness that say: you should go for point A to point D but creation is in between and for the best if the result is good ;O)

  12. I like very much the abstract nature of this picture. Even though I am not a painter I relate totally to the thoughts you express in the first two paragraphs. Most of my work at present is experimental and ‘fun’ – pushing the bounds.

  13. Isn’t it odd how certain practices can make us feel free, and others somehow more inhibited? I can see how these images might make you long to paint! Sometimes I feel the longing to make my photographs more tactile and hand-felt too..I wonder if its partly the digital thing? You are painting in a new way though, which is really exciting.. I wonder how different these will seem on different papers, or maybe stretched onto canvas..maybe you could even paint into them…?!

  14. Yes, you’re right, the more photo we “make”, the easier it is to swerve off into fantasy – or unreality as I often call it. This is a great freedom.

    And “It is a beautiful thing to be completely drawn in by what you are working on; to be lost in images and ideas and explorations.” >>> oh yes, it is a wonderful feeling, an intoxication really >>> when an image is coming together in front of me, when I know there is “something there”, my wife tells me that I often start humming or singing – or making really quite strange noises!!! >>> but I’m flying then, and maybe those that fly can make whatever noises they like! 🙂

    Thank you again for visiting my blog today, and for leaving good thoughts. A 🙂

  15. So much energy without being loud. So lovely colours. It is a very dreamy scene to me. I like how the photograph invites me calmly and just when I spent a good amount of time, the whole depth becomes perceptible.

  16. There’s a definite physicality to these latest shots – like action paintings (although the “marks” in this one remind me of early Guston). It’s a strange thing, isn’t it – we quite often cannot work in the medium we want to. But I think the tension, the longing (or whatever it is), lends a piquancy to the work we make.

  17. Your images are so lyrical and free it must be hard to then try to translate that onto canvas. I always wonder how painters do it, as there seems to me to be so much more at stake with a paintbrush in hand and an empty canvas to fill. Perhaps the answer is like you say to stop expecting results and start playing, and you’ll find a different kind of freedom (from your photographic work) which will be just as rewarding. I’m sure you’ll get past it, Karen, and I’ll look forward to seeing more on the blog x

  18. Beautiful image. There really is nothing to lose in letting go Karen, I hope you find your way back to thoses canvasses, it really isn’t too far.. expecting perfection is always a stmbling block to creativity I think. Although not a painter, I’ve spent probably more time than necassary getting caught up in technicality when I should perhaps just be taking more pictures.

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