My Winter Obsession Peace and Hope for Ukraine

Ginkgo Lawn

This fall I happened upon a neighborhood Ginkgo tree just as her leaves were dropping. I know it is a ‘her’ because she has the most foul smelling fruit! The leaf falling was a phenomenon I had never witnessed before -the yard was flooded with a cascading yellow leaves, carpeting the lawn. Within 24 hours virtually all the leaves went from the tree to the lawn. While they were falling you could hear them cascading to the ground.

I took some pictures and gathered up a bag of leaves to play with at home. Thus began my winter obsession of playing with Ginkgo leaves. I photographed the leaves, I scanned leaves, I pressed leaves to preserve them, and I started making cyanotypes with the leaves and images of the leaves.

As the winter progressed I found myself dashing outside to make a print or two when the sun was at its height, but sometimes when it was overcast, rainy or snowy. The novelty of each print being dependant on exposure time, time of day, and how the chemistry is applied to the paper, and what combination of negatives I use means that EACH image is different, either in subtle or not so subtle ways. As I accumulated prints I kept pondering–what am I going to do with all of these prints?

Fast forward to February 20th-the beginning of the war in Ukraine. As a first generation American of Hungarian ancestry this war has a level of meaning for me. In my reading about Ginkgo trees, I learned that in Chinese literature and Art, the Gingko is a symbol of Peace and Hope. Apparently there was a reason why these leaves took hold of my imagination!

I have moved several of the prints to my Etsy site https://www.etsy.com/shop/JenniferAblardPhoto and will donate 10% of the sales to the International Committee of the Red Cross. https://www.icrc.org/en I also have a collection of them at a local Salon https://salon241.com/ who has generously allowed me to sell them locally- So we will see how that goes. Gotta do something with all this fear, sadness and anger.

Process

Gingko Images

Processing…
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Following my bliss…OR Finding the courage to identify myself as an artist!

Process is what its all about…Unlike getting a job where there are externally imposed expectations and duties, I have none of that! sounds fun right? SOoit is good and other days I manage to do alot of other things like laundry, garden, read the newspaper, doom scoll 😦 But then I realize that during those times of doing nothing I am actually filling my mind with ideas of things to try in my studio, things to look up, and adding to my list of influences to acknowledge.

Things I have accomplished: updated my Etsy Shop , where my annual calendars notecards and a few new works on metal can be found-and more is on the way. Updated my WEBSITE on WordPress, which allows me to also create a blog where I can easily update what I am doing, working on and thinking . I left FACEBOOK , take that Zuckerberg, so I hope that this WordPress tool will reach a more focused audience. I am exploring the fun and unpredictable world of cyanotypes and have started working with watercolors.

Old Springfield Road: Solo show that no one saw February -June 2020

Landscape

A landscape is the visible features of an area of land, its landforms, and how they integrate with natural or man-made features.

New Oxford American Dictionary

Old Springfield Road is the link between Northampton and Easthampton by way of the Oxbow meadows and includes the Mass Audubon Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. It hosts a wide skyline vista for viewing the Holyoke and Mt. Tom Ranges, gauging the weather, observing sunrises, sunsets, and migrating birds. The wide expanse… is different every hour of every day!

I have been documenting the changes that occur in the vista from the exact same spot for the past few years.  The stand of trees in the mid-ground are the focal point.  It is easiest to take the long view when in this setting, head up eyes looking skyward focused on the infinite horizon.

With a simple adjustment of my focal distance, smaller features of the landscape are revealed within ¾ mile of the trees.