April 13, 2021

Breaking out of a Photographic Rut by Creating Art Led to a Porcupine Breakthrough

Feeling restless, like l keep taking the same pictures, seeing the same light and thinking the same thoughts. To change this up, I brought my bag of art supplies to a nearby stream.

I dipped my watercolor brush in the stream for, well, water. Also dipped it in this unnatural liquid, sometimes catching a little mud in the process.

On another day, I continued with getting tactile, moving away from the digital life. The health of getting one’s hands dirty.

Using pastels and dropping rocks in a stream to create ripples.

I began taking pictures as a boy 5 decades ago. Not surprising that I might find myself in a rut photographically, especially with the pandemic limiting movement and human interaction.  How many pictures can I take in my house?

Last weekend I brought my DSLR with a long lens on a hike near the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts.  I spotted an animal scampering through the woods and then it began climbing a tree.  A porcupine!

I have photographed presidents in the White House and worn a gas mask and helmet covering riots in South Korea.  However, I am so excited with this image as I have never intimately documented wildlife.  I keep pinching myself, "I photographed a porcupine!"

Perhaps taking an artistic tactile break from photography led to this breakthrough.

John Nordell teaches courses in the Visual and Digital Arts Program at American International College in Springfield, Mass. He blogs about the creative process at CreateLookEnjoy.com  Instagram: @john.nordell


Greg said...

Woo-hoo! Great going, John. (Mel would be so proud ;-))

A Stuart said...

Great picture. The Quabbin has always been a go to place for me when I need to reset my mind.

John Nordell said...

Thanks Greg and Stuart. I appreciate the encouragement.