There comes a time in the deep cold of every Canadian prairie winter, when the need to be in the presence of new green growth becomes a necessity. Something fresh, urgent, reassuring in its promise that spring will eventually arrive.
Back in January, I happened to receive some bulbs for growing indoors – forcing – and had a few dozen of another variety in storage in the back of the fridge.
Recalling how my mother would use beautiful glass marbles when forcing bulbs, I decided to give it a try using my collection of sea glass. With a sunny south-facing windowsill available, I arranged the glass pieces in some small vases, set the bulbs on top, and added water.
It took a couple weeks to see many signs of life. First to appear were tiny roots, and as the days have ever so gradually gotten longer, so have the leaves, finally opening to flowers.
Over the years I have revisited various still life photography subjects and ideas.
A recent photo workshop introduced me to some new ways of looking at still life art. I have decided to make still life studies a larger part of my photographic practice. The process is enjoyable, as it requires that I spend time with the subject, paying attention to how I can shape the light and shadows and achieve a desired effect within the composition.
My goal in this still life arrangement was to explore contrasting materials. By using glass pieces to play with layered light and colour, I was able to create textural details that compliment the natural forms. I prefer to work with available light and found that this simple still life subject photographs well in small patches of winter sunlight. Once the green leaves emerged from the bulbs, I began documenting their progress.
Of particular interest were the white tendrils of roots, threading down through the sea-glass. I have more work to do in exploring their visual potential, particularly as abstracted elements in different kinds of light. These reaching forms, hidden then revealed by the glass, bring to mind the idea that some of the most important stages of growth happen unseen. This winter has been a season of quiet change as I have been integrating and internalizing the lessons of the past year. From processing tremendous loss to focusing on my creative growth, I have been sending out my own delicate roots and tapping into new possibilities through my personal work.
I have been hard at work updating my website, and you can find more of my still life photography here with a small selection of prints available in my shop.