My artistic vision for Spread Your Wings was to capture how the honeysuckle petals reminded me of wings. In my mind’s eye, what I saw upon discovering these subjects was the familiar shape of arched bird wings as they are flying. I placed the petals so that they opened up horizontally and flowed across the frame. As it was early morning and I was on the north side of the museum building, I was working without much sunlight. Even so, I searched for an angle that gave me the darkest possible background so that the white petals would pop against it. Since there was no way to ignore the stamens or stigmas, I focused on the anther of the first (and tallest) stamen and let everything else fall where it was in the zone of sharpness. That worked out pretty good because I really like being able to see all the tiny little hairs that run up the flower and out to the petal edges. The high level of detail also allows individual pieces of pollen to be seen.
On the second to last full day of my SC AIR trip, I spent the afternoon exploring different parts of the Hickory Top Wildlife Management Area. As I came into a relatively small and seemingly remote part of Hickory Top, I noticed a spot with a whole lot of color. Since I wanted to continue to assess the site and discover anything else it had to offer, I made a mental note of the location and planned to inspect it much closer when leaving. Even though this section of the WMA felt secluded, it had a nice paved road at least two lanes wide that was similar to an extended driveway. From the main road it went into the woods about three quarters of a mile before splitting at a turnaround that would bring you right back out. On the turnaround, the car scared another herd of wild pigs and they loudly squealed while frantically running for cover. The group seen earlier during the week at the Cuddo East Unit of Santee WMR had many more members, but the Hickory Top pigs appeared to be quite unaccustomed to visitors.
I had never seen wild honeysuckle with these colors before coming across the plants featured in this post. When I returned to the place noted earlier, I found an entire bush of the brightly colored flowers. I didn’t have to look very long to find a branch with blooms and buds that could be isolated against a nicely blurred background, which allowed me to create the Hickory Top Honeysuckle composition. The high level of detail permits surface textures and individual hairs to be seen.
For my Wild Honeysuckle composition, I decided to incorporate the background blossoms and buds instead of finding a cluster to separate away from the others. By using the top of the bush and a horizontal perspective as well as being physically closer, I created a frame filling scene that more closely resembles the majority of the bush – it was simply loaded with the colorful flowers. If for no other reason than they were so ornate and attractive, it seems like more people would have them on their property. I felt that this encounter was unique especially since they were growing in the middle of nowhere against a WMA border fence. Here too, the high level of detail captured allows surface texture, individual hairs, and pollen particles to be visible.
I created Bluff Unit Honeysuckle, while waiting for the sun to set, near the Santee NWR visitor center in the early evening of the first full day of my South Carolina Artist In Residence (AIR) trip. The piece has a joyful mood as the angles of the Honeysuckle pair and the curves of their filaments make them appear to be happily dancing. The high level of detail allows surface texture, contours, individual hairs, and pollen particles to be seen.