Saturday, December 9, 2017

A portrait in miniature: Driftless trout streams

We slow down as our footsteps take us into the woods and up the valley where the stream gets smaller and more intimate. Stepping quietly, our senses detect the little music; tinkles of bells, murmurs of woodwinds, swirls of flutes, brush strokes both bold and exact.

It focuses the eyes and concentrates the senses. We are one in harmony with the stream. We are part of it. We stepped into its realm one foot in the element of water, one foot on earth, our minds in the air above and eyes in wonder, searching… heightened senses… spot a wild orchid, a water spider, watch a tiny brook trout explore a riffle in circles unaware you are now a part of its world. We feel welcome, not an intruder. The gallery opens for us…

They are intimate because we enter the portrait. We are part of it for a fleeting moment…

The streams are introspective. Dancing lights of water sparkle like little flashing mirrors and highlights provide the lighting to make the portrait glow. We are reflective now among the tunnels of valleys hidden among hills. We pause to strive to understand… to interpret.

We even seem to breath in miniature in order not to disturb this quiet song.

This art exhibit was not promoted, and the portraits so hidden that the show does not begin until we stop to smell a flower, or turn the artwork on its side to reveal its colors: Brown trout… toasted Amish bread with honey and raspberries with halos of ripe blueberries. Brook trout so colored that they seem out of proportion to size. How can such a bright canvas be hidden here? They are tubes of paint rolling along the cobble-palette at the bottom to be uncovered for a mere moment in time, splashed across our memory in bright strokes like a Van Gogh.

Is it a portrait or a landscape? Only the artist knows, and we may think we know his or her intentions, only to be confronted around the next bend, as the gallery changes anew.

The streams are awash with color and shadow, their features thrusting forth proudly in personalities captured in a mere sitting. A moment in time ageless now as they move from birth to death, from spring to confluence, only to sit again for a new portrait the next time we step into their studio and smell the colors of the foliage and water on the artist’s brushes sweeping gently like trees across the canvas of nature.

They will be there next time we visit, differently intimate and small, but with such art to kiss the senses each moment, around every curve, every cheek, lip, and riffle.