Posts Tagged ‘day lily’

This past June became our hottest June on record breaking a mark that stood since 1952.  Before the month slid into history, there was time for one more adventure at the Falls of the Ohio.  Rising from the polystyrene and insulating foam, I constructed this little figure to be my guide and companion as we toured the sights together.  Here’s his very first picture.

The little Tour Guide’s hat is the cap from a deodorant stick, but it fits his Styrofoam head just right.  He offered to take me around to see what we could see on this sweltering day and I offered no resistance.  Following are a few of the marvels we came across as we walked the riverbank.  The fishing had been particularly good and our guide was able to land a fish of his own.  I’m not sure what he used for bait, but this fish is like no other I have seen before.  Looking closely, I could see it is made from green foam.

The last high water incident deposited a lot of wood and junk upon the bank and there is plenty to discover.  Among the more unusual finds was this wooden Easter Bunny who offered our guide an egg.  I’m guessing that this was originally a seasonal yard decoration used in pagan celebrations?  With a pink dress, this is obviously the female and it made me wonder what the male looked like and was he carrying an egg too?

Near the rabbit was a truck tire.  I know what you are thinking…what could be so special about that?  I feature them in this blog all the time.  Well, this tire is also a record breaker being the largest one that I have come across in the last seven years I have been working this project.  I bet this thing was originally very expensive and now it’s apparently worthless.

It’s usually a treat to find artworks made by others out here.  This time our guide showed me a series of sand drawings he came across.  I think the one where abstract wavy lines are coming out of a drum is my favorite one.  The sand drawing featuring the head with open mouth is a bit naughty and so I’m only showing you part of it.  Here are three images in succession.

We moved off of the sandy bank and headed towards the Interpretive Center.  The little guide told me that the day lilies were looking especially colorful and I couldn’t wait to see them.  I snapped this image of the guide by some very intensely orange blossoms.  These flower beds are just past their peak and I’m glad I saw them when I did. 

This Fourth of July weekend is shaping up to be cooler and so I’m anticipating being able to work out here a bit longer.  Thanks for coming along with us on this outing…we enjoyed showing you the sights.  I’ll close for now with this nice image from the day lily garden overlooking the Falls of the Ohio.

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Falls of the Ohio, 7/09

The river is low and the fossil beds are exposed.  I still can’t get over how this is the bedrock of the river.  Bowls of water pockmark the scalloped surface as the retreating liquid pools where it can.  It will take a good rain to wash the dirt away revealing details from Devonian times.  Still, some people are disappointed because you can’t find dinosaurs here.  The terrible lizards are still millions and millions of years into the future.

Black vultures, 7/09

Today the fishing was good if you are a Black vulture.  For us it’s a different story.  Although there were lots of people trying, I didn’t see anyone catching anything.  The weather has been odd for July.  It’s so cool outside you would think you were in Michigan instead of Kentuckiana.  The television says it has something to do with high pressure coming down from the north.

shelf fungus with chains, 7/09

I took a longer walk today than usual before making something.  Along the way I came across a decaying log with an old chain embedded in it.  Wood and bark grew over this wound when the tree was alive.   Now it’s at the Falls turning into humus as the fungi break down the wood.  I’m keeping an eye out for how long it will take to free this chain from it’s matrix of cellulose. 

"treehog", 7/09

Ever see a “treehog” before?  Today I came across this guy sitting on top of a tree that snapped in two during a thunder storm.  I’m looking downhill and the woodchuck is about eight or nine feet above the ground.  On a number of occasions I’ve watched them climb trees to obtain tender leaves to eat.  This one appeared to be just hanging out, watching life go by.  Once it spotted me, it ran down the tree and into the brush.

driftwood and inridescent water, 7/09

In the driftwood zone are small rivulets where the water trickles over the sand and under the silvery wood.  An iridescent sheen from minerals leached underground creates an oily rainbow slick.  I’ve begun to pay attention to this prismatic effect by photographing it several times.  The colors move with the water and contrast with the solidity of the driftwood.

Abstract man w/yellow sprayer, 7/09

I made this figure today.  I call him “Abstract Man with Spray Bottle” which is not an imaginative title, but a descriptive one.  Because of the profile view, this was the most different of the lot.  This piece seemed to work in multiple environments.  In my next post, I will show you images of this figure shot at various locations around the park.  I waited for the sunshine to burn off the cloud cover before I went home, but that didn’t happen while I was there.  I stopped by the lilies again and shot this view with the fossil beds in the distance.  There is a lot of compressed time here.

Day lilies and fossil beds, 7/09

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Day Lilies blooming,7/09

For many years I have admired the gardening efforts by the staff and park volunteers to beautify the area around the Interpretive Center.  I don’t know if these fine folks get the credit they deserve, but I thought I could devote a post to sing their praises and say thank you.  I would be remiss if I didn’t also notice the man-made loveliness to go with all the man-made rubbish deposited by the river and frequently cited by me in my art.

Day lilies, 7/09

The Day Lily Collection at the Interpretive Center is particularly nice and I have been enjoying the blooms for the past couple of weeks.  Dozens of varieties are represented and each is labelled.  Our area has a very active day lily society and their plant sales are avidly attended.  I have heard people refer to gardening as an “art”, but what about the flowers themselves.  Can a real flower be a work of art?

Yellow spider-lilies, 7/09

Many years ago, (the early 1990’s) I organized an art exhibition entitled “Green” for the Louisville Visual Art Association.  I chose the show’s title before the whole “green” consciousness became so prevalent.  In that show, I had a selective representation of artists  that expressed a concern for the environment.  By far, the artist whose work and ideas I found the most interesting belonged to George Gessert of Eugene, Oregon. 

Day lily, 7/09

red and yellow daylilies, 7/09

pink and yellow, daylilies, 7/09

Gessert considers himself to be a “genetic artist” and his medium are the wild iris varieties he finds in the Pacific northwest.  His basic idea is that the plants and animals we surround ourselves with would not exist in nature without our selectively choosing which characteristics of a given species we find attractive or useful.  He believes what we find attractive in flower blooms is a kind of cultural preference and conditioning and in his own iris works, likes to show what other forms are possible.

deep red daylilies, 7/09

Gessert’s ideas and work raises many possibilities which he has made clear in several articles in the Science/Art journal “Leonardo”.  If we think artists are people who create beauty by manipulating inert materials what do you call it when living materials are used?  Could a dog or horse be considered a living sculpture because they wouldn’t exist in their present forms without our intervention?  Just as interesting is the observation that we are surrounding ourselves with plants and animals that are hybrids or cultivars.  Look around you, how many of the plants do you see in your yard that are wild and native?  It’s fewer than you think.

Falls view with daylilies, 7/09

With genetics, the intersection of art and life is about to get really blurry.  As we learn more about the molecular codes that program life, the more tempted we are to experiment.  There is always the specter of eugenics as well and the quest to make people not just better, but superior.  Another possibility is that we may make new varieties of food plants that could feed an overcrowded and starving planet.  As for the question about the flower being a work of art in itself…I’m going to say yes.  I like that art can push the boundaries of what is considered the norm and in the process alert us to  and prepare us for the future.  After Gessert, I can’t look at a typical garden in the same way as I once did without thinking about the issues he raises.

daylilies at the Falls, 7/09

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