I discovered my Tree Fern composition on the south side of the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum in Hopeland Gardens. This little fern and the moss behind it was living on one of the big magnolia trees. I find it fascinating that a tree can have other organisms growing out of and/or subsisting on it. It’s almost as if the tree is so old and entrenched that Mother Nature starts treating the base like it was part of the surrounding ground by letting other flora invade and take up full time residency. I liked the richness of the greens. Aesthetically, I placed the fern in the frame so that the spine would be on a diagonal and the tips of the leaves form an arch above it. The high level of detail allows dew drops, pollen, surface texture, and individual hairs to be seen.
I came across the fern in Sprung on one of the hiking trails in Dingle Pond Unit the second day of my SC AIR trip. The curvature of the leaves from left to right provide an impression of smiles stacked on top of each other, which gives the piece a joyful feeling. If I was a fern, I’d be happy to finally be unfurled and able to soak up some spring sunshine. The coating of white hairs, like a type of down, speaks to a new beginning with thoughts of a bright future. The high level of detail allows surface texture, veins, and individual hairs to be seen.
One spring afternoon while exploring the Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve for subjects, I came across several nice looking ferns. Not all of them had blooms available to add color to their otherwise dull backgrounds, but by searching for ones that did and finding the proper perspective, I was able to add some additional aesthetic appeal to my compositions. I like how tightly the leaves appear to be curled on the fern in Wound Up. A high level of detail allows individual hairs to be seen as well as surface texture and contours on the underside of the leaves.
I was pleased to discover a background so full of color, but I was even happier with the shape of the fern in Furled. I feel that the loops and curves endow it with a lyrical quality while the leaves show a relaxed freedom at the bottom of the piece and continue to be pulled in ever tighter moving towards the focal point. It portrays a feeling of letting go and opening up through growth and confidence. The high level of detail allows surface textures, veins in the leaves, and individual hairs across the entire subject to be seen.
The background in my Unraveling composition has the most color of any in this group. I used the fact that this particular fern had a horizontal orientation (this was the only one I came across that afternoon that wasn’t unfurling vertically) to my advantage by placing the stem in a corner and letting the leaves come out into the frame. Once again, the high level of detail allows individual hairs to be seen – especially near the focal point.