Editing the Warts of the Environment

DSCI0025It is said that both painters and novelists are allowed a certain degree of poetic license. In other words they can make things up.

In my novels I make up characters, events and even places that don’t exist or never happened. In my art I don’t leave in everything I see and sometimes add things in a scene that aren’t there. I call it editing out the warts and adding in some additional beauty.

Nature scenes are where this occurs the most for me. In the attached photo you don’t see the trash on the beach or in the water and the water looks clean and inviting.

Sometimes I have a difficult time doing this editing as I feel I’m “not keeping it real” but in the end, I paint how I see or better yet want to remember or see nature. I also understand that people rarely want to hang a painting on their wall that shows the trash along the beach, dead dolphins on the shore or a nuclear silo in the background.

While this would be the way to go in a photograph or documentary it’s simply not that pleasing to the eye.

The truth is, we want to remember and view nature in the manner it was meant to be enjoyed or how we remember it from our youth.

Whenever I go to various new locales I like to visit the state parks or wildlife and scenic preserves. (By the way, it’s amazing how few people I actually see in some of the preserves) I love to take in nature and look for scenes I can later paint.

To my chagrin, I am seeing a lot less of the nature I used to see in such preserves and a lot more warts.

As an example, this past week Kathy and I were in the Tarpon Springs, FL area for her work. While she was toiling in her meetings I took in the parks and preserves in the area. While the parks I visited were very nice, at the same time, after spending a great deal of time in them I noticed some disturbing things.

The first was the amount of trash that lined the waterways and walking paths. I also noticed the lack of shore birds that should have been present. I also noticed the low amount of fish that were in the lakes and tributaries and the brownish or greenish tint to the water (not the natural kind).

Along one of the tributaries I watched a lone fisherman cast his line over and over again without a single bite. At the lake I spoke with a man who had fished the area for eighteen years. The man told me the fishing had fallen off dramatically over the years. He said the bulkhead where he was fishing used to be lined from end to end with fisherman now there was only himself and his two companions present.

He also told me that the previous year the algae blooms were so bad that they had to skim the lake because they were clogging up propellers.

Within the park there are some beautiful Cyprus, Live Oaks and other native plants that lined the waterfront. As I walked along the walkway that goes out over the lake for a short ways I spotted a beautiful shorebird standing along the shore. Surrounding him was all sorts of trash. I intend to paint the scene but will have to edit out the warts.

The brochure for that lake illustrates people swimming, boating and waterskiing. I only saw a few boats out on the lake in what was a beautiful day, no one was swimming or waterskiing (no way I’d dive in there) and there were very few shore birds around and that’s probably because of the lack of fish.

I am not trying to pick on that area but unfortunately it is symptomatic of a lot of our beautiful state and country. I used to visit those same areas as a child and remember why people loved to come visit the area. There were tons of birds, fish and people swimming and boating.  Unfortunately it’s losing a lot of it’s appeal and it honestly makes me sad.

I don’t want to have to edit out the warts and add in the things I remember being around. I’d like to have future generations see nature at it’s best and future artists to be able to paint what they see. My hope is that we treasure such places by protecting them and doing whatever we can in our own way to do so.

Thanks for checking in. I hope you have a great week and I look forward to seeing you back here again next time.

Aloha. Paul


About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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