I praise my children as they notice the minutiae in Nature, ‘good eyes’ I say. The skill of observation is being lost… I notice it in myself. I think I understand a place, yet when I arrive and spend time searching for details, I am most often surprised by what I learn. The subtle detail of life and death passes and we do not notice the treasures we trample or pass by. Through close observation I search for life and meaning in my surrounding environment. Our survival on Earth depends on our willingness to know and value the yeomen of Nature who live out their lives filtering the bay, decomposing the forest, and providing oxygen and food for our nourishment. Through my work I construct larger than life views of Nature using photography and scanography. It is only through careful study that all integral parts of Nature are revealed.
My creative work is a crossing of mediums (digital photography and drawing) that explores nature with a combination of reverence and intimate expression. The images survey natural elements from many angles and distances. These depictions are enhanced and abstracted by painterly additions of color and text. The rich natural images converge with gestural strokes and emotive language that allows the viewer to engage with the greater implications of the pristine subjects. Sometimes these embellishments are delicate; sometimes they obliterate the subject into a space of wonder.
My process begins with photography and sustained observation of Nature. I collect images on long walks in natural settings. I do not set out to find specific images. With my camera in hand on a hike or walk, I make my way through Nature and as I begin to photograph the place the images reveal themselves to me.
Over time and back in my studio I review my collected images and reflect on their visual and symbolic significance to the themes of my creative work and expression. I research and identify the flora in my photographs taking extensive notes on the unique qualities of what I have photographed. Often I incorporate my naturalist’s notes in the final pieces or titles. In the studio I spend considerable time reviewing and preparing the images for printing.
I often print smaller versions of the images for drawing studies and then full-scale versions for my larger works. I then draw, paint and write on the prints with pastel, acrylic ink or I create an encaustic painting applying wax based paints on top of the image which I have mounted on wood panel. Each work is an original work of art.
Bridget Z. Sullivan