The saying “Can’t see the forest for the trees” is a lovely way of describing how we can get so caught up in the details that we miss the big picture. The opposite can also happen, of course, where our focus is so wide, we miss the details. The ability to shift perspective like this is handy generally, but to my mind, particularly so in writing and art. One needs to be able to stand back and get in close, often at the same time.
Now and then, I’ll notice a detail in one of my paintings that’s interesting on its own. This could be a patch of brush, a leafy branch, a sapling, some flowers, a wolf, a ferny hollow. It might be featured in the work, but more often, it’s not — and that’s what makes it interesting.
So I had this idea of fishing out some of these details, tinkering with colors and moods, and creating new images. Here are some samples; click to see a slideshow. You can also check these and other images out on Fine Art America, where you can buy them on cards, prints, and cool stuff like puzzles and yoga mats, among other things.
© F.T. McKinstry 2021. All Rights Reserved.
I am very fond of my aquarium. It’s not that large, but exists as its own little universe, green, fluid and tranquil. I keep freshwater fish and live plants. At one with the water, fishes fascinate me in a primordial, archetypal way. Each kind has its own personality; some are laid back, some are skittish and shy, and others are belligerent. They coexist peacefully, though now and then someone will feel the need to act rude.
I love to grow things in the earth world, so naturally I wanted to try my hand at water. In this realm there is a delicate balance between plant, water and fish that’s more obvious than that of the earth because it goes awry easily and when it does, things get bad in a hurry. It took me a while to get the balance right and now I’m vigilant about keeping it. This has given me a renewed respect for nature, which does this seemingly without effort.
The watery realms provide an interesting metaphor for painting, as the creative process when I’m moving oil paint on a canvas is watery in sensation and feeling.
My fishes would approve.
© F.T. McKinstry 2014. All Rights Reserved.
Spring flows through the cold
Tangled branches twine
Reaching for the sun
Rivers break their icy bounds
And bathe the land in fluid song
Beech leaves rattle amid
Heavens of buds
Gazing down like stars upon the earth
Dark, damp and fragrant
Mayflowers rise through sodden leaves
Ferns spiral forth
And woodland lilies grace the dark with light
© F.T. McKinstry 2013. All Rights Reserved.