I recently had the opportunity to photograph 140+ pieces of artwork by painter, Sandra Davison. Sandra works in pastels and watercolour with her favorite subjects being natural wetlands, seascapes, skyscapes and the pastoral scenes of her home state of Michigan, USA. While her works tend to be smaller in scale, the detail she conveys with her pastels and brush strokes give a sense of place, and space, in a way that exceeds the borders of the paper.
It was a pleasure to photograph her art as well as to hear the stories of how many of the pieces came to be. She told me about all the visitors she had as she sat quietly contemplating the scene before her. She says that it is the still quiet moments that she enjoys most, and having birds perch on the easel as she paints, or being watched by curious minks and otters is especially rewarding. "It is in those quiet moments', she reflects, "that a real connection to nature is felt." That sense of calm resonates in each of Sandra's works and an immediate sense of peace is felt when you study her work.
I really enjoyed photographing Sandra's artwork and hearing the tales, but it was the time I got to spend quietly with each piece while editing the work that I really got to understand the connection to nature that Sandra was conveying. Seeing her use of colour and relating the stories she told me about the work and how it was created drew me in. Being able to zoom in closer than I could see the original pieces with my naked eye I could see the texture of the pastel on the paper. It was an almost tactile experience. Through Sandra's talk of colour in her work, I have become even more aware of the colour in my world, from the blue/green tint of the moss on a cedar tree and the crimson reds and pale yellows of an autumn forest, and everything in between, my awareness has been hightened.
We can learn lessons through quiet observation, be it while creating our own art, or by looking carefully at the work created by other artists, even by paying attention to seemingly mundane things, like for example, what colour is your kitchen sink, or your driveway? Sure, you could say grey, or silver, but what else? Look deeper, you may discover layers of colour beneath the grey that you didn't expect.
So take a moment when you look at artwork, try to imagine what it must have been like for the artist as they created their work, try to be there; was it windy, was it calm, was it hot or cold? How were the clouds moving, how was the water moving? What animals may have been present? But mainly, enjoy the work and maybe we can begin to see the world from another perspective.
Sandra Davison is an Xchanges Gallery & Studios artist and can be contacted through Xchanges at [email protected]
~If you have 2D or 3D art that you need photographed for documentation, reproduction, prints, or art cards please reach out to discuss your specific needs.