I didn’t decide to become an artist. Who does? It wasn’t until I was in my mid-30s taking a class towards a bachelor’s degree with just the right course to finally know what I “wanted to be when I grew up” was a nonfiction writer. That doesn’t mean there weren’t signs of my being a writer all my life.
It is the same with art. I began photography in grade school with a 110mm camera, complete with finite affordability and long waits for film. Over time, I crafted, decorated, sketched, and loved museums without an art education. It was 2019 and my 40s that space opened in life for the growing desire to create to go full throttle. Sometimes, full throttle is an old Ford pickup backfire, and sometimes, full throttle is … well … I have yet to see if I am the stuff sports cars are made of.
Since 2019, I have journeyed to discover the artist in me, beginning with inspiration—to play. As a child of abusive parents that led to traumatic adulthood, including the resulting health problems that unhappily put me on disability at age 35, I hadn’t found freedom to play until God graciously hugged me through art.
To begin, I grasped and twisted color photographs using apps to sate my hunger for rich array in abstracts. I always loved kaleidoscopes—the way they, like a garden palette of colors and textures through seasons, change with movement. I used photography and apps for endless possibilities, rivaling the most valuable kaleidoscopes. Each of my Kaleidoscope Captures shares one ingredient—an orchid photo for creamy white contrast.
The orchid blend is testimony to my love of flowers and ultimately to all nature. As my photography and photo editing software skills developed, so did my colorful landscapes and wildflower photos.
As a teenager in an abusive home, I found refuge outdoors in field, forest, and wildflower. The beauty of landscapes of fields, woods, streams, rivers, and clouds contrasted against plain brown homes, forming in me a kinship with nature. To this day, sitting in the woods with rain or wind rustling in the trees or tending my patio garden, I relax, my lungs expand, and I breathe like nowhere else.
This kinship eventually led to own city street with apartments on one side and the wild side of Brookside Drive in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA where wildflowers abounded alongside bubbling Grassy Flat Creek. As pneumonia took my breath away and I tried to fight my way back it was motivating to walk my half mile round trip, camera in hand, in a scavenger hunt to create treasured Wildflower Paints—layers of wildflower photos blended to create a painting effect.
I enjoy my walks and hikes near and far but am evermore constrained by health. On very rare days I find myself atop an Ozark mountain photographing a watercolor sunrise or autumn.
All this time, I knocked about in architectural photography until it became my artistic niche. I recognized an attention to fine detail and the variegation of shades in monochromatic began with sketching as a teenager. Using #2 pencil, erasure, touch, and edge. I sharpened my ability “seeing” colors as greys. Drawing the color image of a full-sailed schooner ship at sea calls for focus on nuances of depth, texture, contrast, shadow, and light and how a pencil remakes it in its own image.
There are so few female black and white architectural photographers that a Google search begs the question, do you mean men? I’m inspired by the architectural perspectives of Danica O. Kus and impactful black and white of Julia Anna Gospodarou. However, my emphasis is studying every pixel of documentary and architectural fine art photographs to develop my tenants of rich tonality, vivid texture, and creative perspective. Sometimes, I imagine depicting a photo down the body and graphite end of a pencil.
Architectural lines seem as unforgiving as the bars of a prison on mind, body, and soul. However, finding a different perspective from which to view or a different light to shed on it demonstrates that whatever the viewpoint the human spirit, by God’s grace, arises in inspiration, creativity, and life.
Y. Hope Osborn
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