Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cattail Ditch - Lin Frye

Cattail Ditch
Originally uploaded by linfrye
Daily Practice

"They" say beauty is where you find it -- or beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And I suppose that's true. Especially with this view.

I returned some books to our library last weekend. Our town is in the process of rennovating the library's main branch, and so books, people, and all activities have been moved to a former warehouse. When I arrived there last week to exchange my books, I was awe-struck by the incredible yellows, browns and sepias in the storm ditch bordering the road and parking lot.

I carry my camera almost everywhere I go -- and so, books forgotten for the moment, I began taking photos of the ditch and plants - rudbeckias in full golden display, tumbled stones, cattails in all degrees of flower and seed, pokeberry, daisy fleabane, and more. I was in roadside plant and grass heaven!

I must have taken 40 photos before I even noticed the stares I was getting from the patrons arriving and departing the library. I could overhear some of their conversations and bits of chatter wondering just WHAT I was looking at! LOL Yep -- 'in the eye of the beholder to be sure!' LOL

Since the strip of 'safety' between the road and parking lot was too small to pull out a sketchpad and work on site, I settled for reference photos and a ton of painting ideas.

I'll be painting more from this site and talking more about the specific plants I found there - especially cattails - one of my favorites. But for now, what I want to emphasize more than anything, is that once we begin to train our eyes to SEE the wonder in even the smallest things around us, we will be constantly amazed, excited, thrilled, and rarely at a loss at what to paint. I offer this 'waste-water ditch' as an example.

Have fun 'seeing' today --- and please share with me what you find. I'm always curioius to learn what other folks find amazing .... that way, I learn to 'see' better too ...

Lin Frye
North Carolina


  1. I love cattails, too, and totally agree about finding beauty in places one wouldn't expect to see it. Very nice sketch and write-up.

  2. Lin: I like how you've left white paper behind, around, in between and on top of the plants and rocks. I love the feeling of space and light it gives. Gorgeous! And THANK YOU, THANK YOU for this post!! I couldn't agree more with what you have said here. My biggest problem is I don't know HOW to get what I am SEEING down on paper with my watercolor paints. It's very frustrating.

  3. Thank you both so much! Wendi ... I know it sounds so dang lame ... but practicing every day HELPS in the attempt to put down what you're seeing. I truly don't achieve what I wish I could ... but I do believe that after practicing so much, it gets easier. I buy a ton of books and dvds, take classes, like Kate's, as my insane worklife permits ... I agree, it can be mighty frustrating -- but I promise you this, Wendi ... if you keep trying, keep learning, keep practing, you're going to get ever more close to what you'd like to do on paper.

    One thing I have to remind myself a lot is that I can NEVER achieve exactly what I am seeing -- simply because we are not cameras -- we are working our way to be artists -- those folks who express what they like about a particular thing ... their work being their interpretation and expression of that scene or flower or whatever ...and so after trying so much to paint something that looks like what I'm seeing, I'm gradually trying to learn how to EXPRESS what I am responding to seeing ... sure, a scene one can recognize, but more ... my own VISION of it ... does this make sense?

    Keep working Wendi ... it doesn'thappen overnight .. but it does happen if you keep at it ... promise ...



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