In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful. – Alice Walker

It typically is not a good quality to be a person of many faces. Such people are depicted in movies as secretive, elusive, or in someway untrustworthy. Of course that is the nature of things such as entertainment. 

We can apply the many faces narrative to other things as well besides us humans. This thought came to mind while viewing the image in this post. 

Like many times while out exploring nature during this time of year. After the leaves have fallen, the multitude of colors have disappeared, and there seems to be less to catch the eye in the way of a photograph, I find myself looking closer at things. I’m not sure what my fascination is with trees other than they are an awesome feature of this planet. During the leafless period of the deciduous trees I always begin exploring their bones. That is to say, their bare branches sprawling every direction. As well as their bodies or as most call them their trunks.

In The Eye of The Beholder

There are so many interesting features of tree trunks. Each one seems to be a creation of art. Patterns, lines, textures, are all present in tree trunks. To most it may just be bark. But if you look close and let just a little imagination help you can see beyond the bark. Beyond just patterns and lines and find hidden secrets available to only those who take the time to appreciate each feature of our wonderful trees.

At least once a year I tell myself I need to create more work featuring things like closeups of tree bark. I actually have a good number of photographs of tree bark I have captured over the years. Most were due to something catching my eye and imagination at the time I was standing with them. Later, after my imagination has waned I neglect to go back to the images and attempt to cultivate something. Another one of those things I need to work on (note to self).

I will once again find myself exploring these as subject matter over the coming months. I may even need to do some research of local areas to find a variety of trees in which to spend some time with. Sounds like a fun project that can help fill time during the winter months. 

As anyone who looks at this particular image should notice, the feature that initially caught my attention was the wolf face. Or some kind of canine face anyway, but wolf is what came to mind initially. Of course I had to capture a few images of it. As I have been going back over some of them I keep coming back to this one so I decided to do some minor processing of it. First to a more abstract look, which seemed to diminish the qualities that drew my attention to it to begin with, then to just some basic adjustments of mostly contrast. 

What eventually came to mind was a simple conversion to black and white. There wasn’t much color to begin with, typically grayish tones of bark with some greens scattered around which didn’t seem to enhance much. I have mentioned before how I have a tendency to over look black and white when working on images. I seem to have strong color preferences when it comes to visual stimuli. Once I allow myself to explore black and white versions of an image I realize it has many things to offer. 

Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings. -Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

The more time I spent with this image the more I began to see deeper into it. I thought it would be fun image to share here and let others spend some time with it. We all will see it differently. That is the magic of art, any kind of art. We all hear songs differently. Our moods and emotions will allow us to experience our own personal emotions. Visual art is no different. I am not sure most think of visual art as an exploration of our emotions, but honestly we should. There is always more than meets the eye with a quick glance.

When I began looking deeper into this image I discovered more than what appeared to be a lone wolf face. In fact, with just a little imaginative help I see four faces and a possible fifth. There may be other slightly noticeable features within this image besides faces. As there are many more features to trees besides wood and leaves. 

This is a little deviation from my typical approach to an image. No grand landscape to set back and relax by. No blast of a colorful sunrise or sunset. More of a journey to things made possible if we allow ourselves the freedom to explore and use our imagination. An approach that I find fascinating and enjoyable. 

Here’s to the many faces of our World, and our great and beautiful friends, the trees.

Time spent amongst trees is never wasted time. – Katrina Mayer
Art has always been what you make of it as a viewer.

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