About

When you speak nature, do you speak about it, or with it?
Immerse yourself

This Independent Study Project is intended for me to use photography and art as a way to express my connection, or desire for a connection, to nature. Photography has been a hobby of mine for a number of years as I’ve used it as a creative outlet and means to document my travels. Photography is also a way for me to share my view of the world. It has been an attempt to capture beauty in a single, simple frame of time. To stare intently at an image is a mesmerizing and meditative experience. I propose through this project, to bring some of my outdoors experience indoors to share and hopefully relate with other’s connections to the environment and systems around us that we call nature.

For this project, I will take selected photos I captured and edited, print them, and transfer those prints to a wooden board. All my photographs are in digital form, and I would like to use this project as a catalyst to printing my photos, which I believe makes that relationship between the artist and viewer a little bit closer.

I want to be careful about the truthfulness of my intentions here. This is a means to share my art. It is a means for making me active with my photography, so that my work, which I care about and am emotionally connected to, does not sit idly on my computer or stored away in a forgotten corner of my room. This is my first art project in college and certainly my first time every viewing it for public display.

This project is in conjunction with my concentration studies which center around the ecopsychological understanding of human’s relationship to nature.

Nature – Where Do You Draw The Line?
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Artist’s Statement

Trees surround us, but rarely do we spend time truly amongst them. The density of forest and the high production of biomass within our local area is one of the defining aspects of this place we call home. These forests are a home to many other organisms as well, small and large, as humans are but one part of a greater forest of life. This is a major aspect of my studies as a student, as I have looked at the psychological and sociological effects of forming deep and meaningful connections with nature. As an artist, I have expressed the emotional frustration and contradiction of trying to connect. This piece expresses a sort of severed relationship that exists within my mind and daily practice of life; how I wish nothing greater than to relate personally and collectively with life beyond just humans. By returning the “forest” to the “trees” in this piece, I am symbolically representing my own backwards struggle to connect.

These photographs are a tribute to our forests, and to our living, breathing planet. By using the natural resource of wood as the medium for displaying my forest-in-motion photos, I am exploring creative ways to share and connect to an ancient relationship between humans and the rest of nature. I often think that in order to have a connection to nature, I must be actively participating in some practical skills or knowledge pertaining to the “great outdoors”. This is but one way to form a relationship to nature, and as I am learning, a sense of connection or relating to something usually starts with a set of feelings or emotions. By displaying these photos, I am hoping to invoke these simple yet profound human responses we call emotions.

I am also exploring the concept of motion and movement. Motion is a key aspect of being human and of being an animal. We are fascinating creatures just in all the ways we move, as well as the ways movement has helped us settle into ever corner of the earth. Specific to the photos, I am exploring the visual appeal of motion within a single frame. I am interested in how these photos may appeal to others. What is one’s somatic experience while viewing these photos? Is there some deeper connection triggered by viewing the blurred photos of trees? Was this once a common experience that may use to have existed in our ancient past?

Each piece was captured with a Nikon D200 while I was in motion. I then transferred each printed photo to blocks of cedar I salvaged, leftover from a Story Pole which can be found in the Whatcom Museum Lightcatcher building

Final Product

Here are the six pieces I created and are currently on display in Wilson Library Gallery 3. After going through a good amount labor, and having to redo a few over and over again, I managed to complete the project before the last official day of school!

I’ll soon be posting some of the process I went through, but for now, enjoy!1 2 3 4

Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir

Alder

Alder

Fullperson Full

Ecopsychology and Forest in Motion

Trees surround us, but rarely do we spend time truly amongst them. The density of forest and the high production of biomass within our local area is one of the defining aspects of this place we call home. These forests are a home to many other organisms as well, small and large. We as humans are but one part of a greater forest of life. This is a major aspect of my studies at Fairhaven; looking at the psychological and sociological effects of forming deep and meaningful connections with nature. These photographs are a tribute to our forests, and to our living, breathing planet. By using the natural resource of wood as the medium for displaying my Forest in Motion photos, I am exploring creative ways to share and connect to an ancient relationship between humans and the rest of nature. We often think that in order to have connection to nature, we must be actively participating in some practical skills or knowledge pertaining to the “great outdoors”. This is but one way to form a relationship to nature, and as I am learning, a sense of connection or relating to something usually starts with a set of feelings or emotions. By displaying these photos, I am hoping to invoke these simple yet profound human responses we call emotions.

I am also exploring the concept of motion and movement. Motion is a key aspect of being human and of being an animal. We are fascinating creatures just in  all the ways we move, as well as the ways movement have helped us settle into ever corner of the earth. Specific to the photos, I am exploring the visual appeal of motion within a single frame. I am interested in how these photos may appeal to others. What is one’s somatic experience while viewing these photos? Is there some deeper connection triggered by viewing the blurred photos of trees; a common experience that may use to have existed in our ancient past?

Aside

Here are some photos showing some of the elements of my project, as well as a photo of my test print.

The wood I am using is Cedar. They are circular having not been cut and shaped. I like the natural look of this, but am having difficulty finding a Laserjet printer that will print large enough for the slabs of wood. Orgininally, I wanted the prints to be larger than the actually wood, because it doesn’t look good to me to have the print ‘floating’ on the wood. I may have to give in though and have smaller prints (much like the test print shown below). I am thinking of at least making the prints circular to be in balance with the natural shape of the wood.

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The Test

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Never having time during the week, I finally had a weekend off to begin gathering supplies for this project. The method I heard of for transferring prints onto Wood uses a Acrylic Gel Medium. I am to apply a thin layer onto the LaserJet Print, and onto the wood, then place the print onto the wood as smoothly as possible, letting it dry and “transfer” over night.

I decided to start with a tester, to see how well this method works. I was able to salvage some already sanded pieces of wood from work.These pieces of wood are left over from a Story Pole (like a Totem Pole but different purpose) displayed in Whatcom Museum. These are heftly pieces of wood, and I believe it is Douglas Fir, so dense as well.
The surface of the wood is fairly dark, and I am worried how the prints will turn out. I took a small wedge piece to use as the tester, since it is too small a piece to transfer an entire print.
The procedure was easy enough, and in a matter of minutes I had the print pasted to the wedge of wood. The next day I scrubbed it off using hot water and a hand towel. To my delight, the ink actually transferred over, but to my disappointment it left a film of white from the paper. Also, the quality of the print was really low. Apparently Kinko’s laserjet printer is used mainly to print blueprints for architects and not high-quality photos.

While researching for this project, one of the main bits of information I came upon was that this only works with LaserJet and not with InkJet. At first I couldn’t find any information as to why this is, until I found a different method for transferring the print. After being a little dissatisfied with the result of using the Medium Gel, I found a YouTube video of a guy using heat to transfer the print onto a slab of wood. Check out his the website, it’s got a lot of cool stuff on it:

http://www.woodworkingformeremortals.com/2011/05/transfer-color-pictures-to-wood.html

This man explained that only LaserJet works because this type of printer uses heat to fuse the ink to the paper, so, all you have to do to transfer the ink off of the paper and onto the wood is to use heat to diffuse the ink from the paper, and fuse it to the wood. He used a hot iron which seemed to be more effective, cleaner, and quicker (and cheaper!) of a process than using the gel medium I tried. I plan to use his method for my final prints.

But until then, I need to find a Large Format LaserJet Printer in the area! I have tried the major print and copy services in Bellingham, with no luck. I may have to go down to Seattle where I found a Stables store which has this printer.

I also need to decide whether to print in Color, or B&W. I am leaning towards color because of how much I enjoy the colors of these prints, and I think they may actually stand out better on the wood than B&W.

I also have re-formatted the prints I will use, and switched one of the photos with another. Here are the selected prints:More Photos to come showing the process (for some reason my camera memory card is being read by my computer, so I have to use the University computers to upload any photos)

The Beginning

As I am in my last quarter of my undergraduate degree, I have decided to create an art project for display to the public.

This Ar Project is an extension of my Concentration: Ecopsychology, to explore the human appeal to nature through artistic expression.

I have always enjoyed photography as an ascetically pleasing perspective of various environments I find myself in. A couple years ago I started to play around to find certain styles of photography I enjoyed most. As and active individual myself, I became interested in light and motion, and how to capture these two things. This project is an attempt to take a collection of photographs called Forest In Motion, and print them on giant wood “cookies”. I am not entirely sure how it will turn out, but I am excited to find out!

Here are the photos that I will be printinf and transferring onto the wood. Alder