A look at my work from behind the curtain
The ying and yang of my love affair with fall
I think its fair to say that 2023 has so far been an amazing fall; the colors have been stunning and the conditions for image-making by midwest standards have been excellent.
I can't remember a September, October and November where the reds have been redder, the yellows have been yellower, and the purples have been...well, you get the idea.
There's a scientific explanation for all this; it has to do with temperature and moisture, according to the Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture (https://tinyurl.com/3apdue5t)
“A succession of warm, sunny days and cool, crisp but not freezing nights, seems to bring about the most spectacular color displays. During these days, lots of sugars are produced in the leaf but the cool nights and the gradual closing of veins going into the leaf prevents these sugars from moving out. These conditions – lots of sugar and light – spur production of the brilliant anthocyanin pigments, which tint reds, purples, and crimson. Because carotenoids are always present in leaves, the yellow and gold colors remain fairly constant from year to year.”
Got all that?
Well, that's nice to know, but as I walk the trails of my favorite local forest preserves, I find myself caring less about the reasons the leaves turn colors, and more about making stunning images of them.
Along with the amazing fall colors, this time of year also brings a creative dilemma, a ying and yang, a push pull, if you will.
It goes like this: I find myself so taken by the beautiful colors and how they interact with the shapes and textures of the landscape that I feel the urge to be more literal in the work.
The job of the artist, though, is to create their vision of the natural world, to communicate what is seen in one's mind. For me in the fall, I envision shapes that are less sharp, colors that are a bit more muted and the light that becomes more soft.
Take the new image on my website (www.ejschweit.com), “Fall Bouquet.” I love how the early morning fog shrouds the muted purple grasses and how the yellow leaves of the tree looming behind appear to fade into the landscape: that's fall at its finest, a wonderfully moody look that pulls me into a fantasy world where I can easily get lost.
At the same time, though, a little voice rooted in my years in the news business is whispering in my ear: “Psssst...your not giving your viewers/readers a true picture of what's out there...”
There you have it.
Ying and yang.
Push and pull.
Unfortunately, there's really no solution to this problem, so I take in the colors and do what feels right.