Dark Heavy Silence

Dark Heavy Silence

I run before the sun rises for the opportunity to be alone in the silence of the forest. I run in the predawn to replace the chatter in my head with the stillness of the dark forest. It is within these spaces of stillness that ideas and illumination into the next creative step slip in before the chatter of the day resumes once again.

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A Most Meaningful Morning

A Most Meaningful Morning

Recognition begins fairly quickly. Knowing is revealed slowly. Familiarity opens itself to a knowledge that stretches beyond a perceptual knowing of a place to an integrated embodied knowing. It’s a knowing that happens when you can sense the rhythms and patterns without being overtly aware of them. This knowing is sensitive. It may feel like knowing something from the gut, but the gut doesn’t have anything to do with it. It’s really a knowing that comes from connection. If the connection is disrupted, it is felt.

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January Roses

January Roses

Why does the forest smell like roses in January?
Shut out the light and align your breath to what you hear. You start to hear the stories that are told by water.

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Harmonizing with Experiential Knowing and Data Sets

Harmonizing with Experiential Knowing and Data Sets

Harmony Experiential Knowing and Data Sets Harmony Experiential Knowing and Data Sets Climbing the Discovery Tree – Leah Wilson I climb a 200ft old growth Douglas-fir tree every season so that I can feel the light quality change as I ascend above the forest canopy. This means of knowing extends past light registered and processed by my eyes. It offers a complementary way of understanding a forest that a complex data set cannot provide. I experientialy know that the warmth of the sun doesn’t have as much power over the dark, damp forest floor as it does higher in the tree. I know how... Read More
Rot on the 4th of July

Rot on the 4th of July

Rot on the 4th of JulyHJ Andrews Experimental Forest Rot on the 4th of July Over the 4th of July weekend I went to HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in Search of rot (liver-er trees). This is a selection of what I found. Rot-July-4-Leah-WilsonBrown rot Rot-July-4-Leah-Wilson-14Elegant Fungus Rot-July-4-Leah-Wilson-2Toupe? Rot-July-4-Leah-Wilson-3Deep in a logjam in Lookout Creek Rot-July-4-Leah-Wilson-5 Rot-July-4-Leah-Wilson-10Lookout Creek logjam Rot-July-4-Leah-Wilson-9Lookout Creek logjam Rot-July-4-Leah-Wilson-4The tree doesn’t lose its grasp after it falls Rot-July-4-Leah-Wilson-8... Read More
HJA Day 2015

HJA Day 2015

HJA Day 2015June 25, 2015 Decomposition & Composition: Writing and Reflection Inspired by Long-Term Research This time at the log decomposition site I was there not to write, but to see if I could figure out what to paint for ROT, opening in January 2016 at the Arts Center in Corvallis, Oregon. I have been to this site many times, mostly by myself, sometimes with one other, but never with a group, and never with Mark Harmon. This is Mark Harmon’s PLACE. This year he is conducting the thirty year mark of research and observation here. It was a privilege to be shown various types of... Read More
Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice

HJA Day 2015June 20, 2015 Images From the Summer Solstice Photo Shoot Solstices/Equinoxes Project: HJ Andrews Experimental Forest Project June 20, 2015 from 5:25 AM to 8: 55PM The setup: Every 10 minutes from sunup from sundown we captured two images of the white rock in Watershed 2 and the surrounding creek. One of the two images included the color checker to enable me to calibrate every image to the proper color balance. Unlike previous sessions, Tim devised a simple, yet effective way to get the color checker as close to the rock as possible using a hiking stick and a medium metal clip.... Read More
Images From A Photoshoot – Spring Equinox

Images From A Photoshoot – Spring Equinox

Spring EquinoxSolstices/Equinoxes Project Spring Equinox Photo Shoot Tim & and I arrived at Watershed 2 in the dark Saturday morning to set up for the Spring Equinox photoshoot for my Solstices/Equinoxes project. We broke everything down after sunset. I took photos every 10 minutes of the creek with my white rock sitting in the center of the image frames. These are some moments in between. Spring Equinox_Leah-WilsonWhite Rock in Watershed 2 Spring Equinox_Leah-WilsonDownstream flume Spring Equinox_Leah-WilsonUpstream from the pool Spring Equinox_Leah-WilsonLeah at the camera Spring... Read More
Gauges

Gauges

I’ve been in one of those post-project/pre-project limbo funks. These are the times that, I have been told, I am the most difficult to live with. I don’t have grounding in the limbo times: I’ve let go of the last project, but I haven’t yet grabbed a hold of a new one. Lack of grounding is known to make me irritable. Sometimes, if the limbo time starts to drag on, it becomes uncomfortable. The unknown starts to feel oppressive and I get anxious. I start to think that I have used up my entire allotment of ideas for my lifetime, as if there is a fixed amount, but... Read More
Verticality of Trees

Verticality of Trees

I planned to take notes and photographs when out in the field at the Andrews Forest so I wore thin glove liners. My fingers quickly became too cold to do anything but shove my hands in my pockets for warmth. I eventually gave up on the idea that I would record anything and just left it all in Fred’s car. We wandered around to a few locations without a specific purpose in mind. Fred, my favorite geomorphologist and willing collaborator, showed me some alluvial fans. When looking at a map I had to naively ask him to tell me what a fan is. We were in fact, practically standing on one without me... Read More

Some Thoughts After HJA Day

As Dana Warren passed us palm-sized convex, gridded mirrors, he told us that, as an aquatic ecosystems field researcher, he rarely looks up. Using this tool, a densiometer, to observe the sky, he still doesn’t need to look up. He can continue looking down as he typically does. With that admission my Sky/Water paintings felt more meaningful to me. I started the paintings with trepidation, thinking I was working with a simplistic concept that I feared may be too basic to explore. After holding a densiometer in my hand to look down to see the sky, I realized that I had addressed a... Read More

A Little Creative Flow

After my October residency at HJ Andrews nothing happened. It was like the experience stopped any and all creative flow. I actually started to get worried that I had used up my good idea quota. It took three months, but then an idea started to form. In late January I headed back to HJ Andrews to take some reference photos. My plan was to go to two locations on Lookout Creek, at a bridge, the other higher up along a trail in the old growth forest. It was a cold, wet day, but fairly warm for January. It was only spitting slush; at least it wasn’t snowing. But as I got closer to my first... Read More
HJA Residency Day 8: Split Tree

HJA Residency Day 8: Split Tree

HJA Residency Day 8Split Tree Split Tree There is a tree in the forest that is straddling a very slow landslide. Every year the land slides a few more inches and the tree splits a little bit more. One day the tree will rip in two. I have been thinking of that tree since I saw it the first day I arrived. Every day that passed, the tree became more prominent in my thoughts. At the top, the tree is still one. At the bottom, I can comfortably sit inside it, the tear reaching high above me. Tim’s close friend Matt died at the age of 30 last Sunday. Ever since Tim went to the hospital to visit him... Read More
HJA Residency day 8: thoughts on gouache

HJA Residency day 8: thoughts on gouache

HJA Residency Day 8Thoughts on Gouache Aaaargh, Gouache! Thoughts on Gouache This morning is my last studio session for this stint of the residency. Although I am not satisfied with the result of working this painting/sketch for 8 mornings, I am satisfied with the effort. I felt that the struggle with the materials oftentimes dominated the process, but it also allowed me to experiment more than I may have if I had been using materials I felt more comfortable manipulating. Never feeling satisfied allowed me to obliterate parts of the painting that needed obliterating more readily. I... Read More

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