Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What's the point? #phenology patterns

One area of my education that is sadly lacking includes painting and art history and related topics. I know there's something called "Pointillism" and that it has to do with painting of and by dots. That's both the extent and depth of my knowledge on that theme, but it's enough to help me recognize that nature often imitates the art that imitates nature.

pointillated aspens
pointillated aspens
Photo by J. Harrington

We have several clusters of aspens on our property, mixed in with mixed conifers. I don't know, but am suspicious that the aspen clusters are all clones, part of one grove. This Spring, their leaf development is reminiscent of the reproductions I've seen of some pointillist paintings. The mixed oak leaves in our woods have now developed to the point that the spaces seen between bare branches are occluded. When the breeze rustles them, they whisper a soothing susurration. The word for music that's played in a pointillist manner is punctualism or klangfarbenmelodie. Once again I'm in over my head, past the tops of my ears.

a lawn being pointillated
a lawn being pointillated
Photo by J. Harrington

Ground cover such as our white violets(?) and the ground ivy encroaching on the "lawn" from the wood's edge, often creates impressions of splashes of one color from different multitudes of flowers. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that we form our impressions of cultures, communities, clans and congregations from a multitude of individual impressions, cultural or social dots, to which we are exposed daily. Each by itself may not make sense enough to create a coherent impression. It's how all of us connect the dots differently, be they ever so small, that makes all the difference in the stories we tell about the pictures we see, the music we hear, and the lives we live.

Patterns for Arans


We could paint semi-darkness in semi-darkness. And the ‘right lighting’ of a picture could be semi-darkness.                                                             Wittgenstein
                                                            from Remarks on Color

These islands lie off the west coast of Ireland
as if nothing matters.
The people have lived here for centuries
with only a thin covering of soil over the surface.
Great use is made of the seaweed,
the cattle swimming out.

The women here are justly famous.
They weave their own tweed
and make a type of belt called criss.
The heavy Atlantic seas,
the slip stitch.
The difficulty of the patterns
are never written down.

Most impressive and rich, the trellis pattern
and the rope, the tribute to the hardworking bee.
But sometimes their knitting shows mistakes,
with a true Irish touch of nothing
really matters, a careless nonchalance
of the crossing of their cables.

And note mistakes in the simple patterns:
forked lightning or cliff paths,
small fields fenced with stone,
the ups and downs of married life,
the mosses.

The openwork has a religious
significance or none.
Sometimes the clarity of the pattern is
lost through the use of
very fine wool.

Green from the mosses, brown
from the seaweed, grey and cream
color from the stones and pebbles:
many are distinctly over-bobbled.
No matter. They are too lovely
to be lost. Wool and knitting
leaflets can be obtained.

In no case is the whole pattern given.
There are certain gaps and yawns
and part of the pattern is left out
as if it doesn’t matter,
or was too lovely,
so was lost.

Some of the simple patterns
are charming for children’s jerseys.
This one, for example,
would be lovely on a child.

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