February 14, 2010

an artist's view of river trash

post by Steve Schnarr, drawing by Cathy Johnson

Often, when visiting wild and beautiful places, I have a habit of framing photos to crop out the evidence of humankind. It’s some kind of attempt to peer back in time at a more “pristine” natural world that exists amongst our human strivings. Despite that, it’s not very honest!

But other times, it’s that contrast between the unfolding and timeless natural drama and the evidence we humans leave behind that is the most interesting.

I came across this wonderful drawing today by naturalist and artist Cathy Johnson, who lives near Excelsior Springs, MO. She was visiting Cooley Lake Conservation Area, which features a remnant oxbow lake in the Missouri River bottoms, as well as a popular boat ramp on the Big Muddy. It’s a perfect encapsulation of that frustration we all feel when we visit a favorite spot of beauty to find piles of junk left behind by careless people.

Here’s the direct link to the drawing on her flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cathy-johnson/4354939050/

If you’d like to know more about the diverse, beautiful and personal art of Cathy, check out her website or blog.

1 comment:

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

Thank you! I keep an artist's journal, and work in it nearly every day...and try not to flinch from the reality. Vandals destroyed an old stone BBQ in the river park near my home, last year, and I drew that in an equally angry way. Of course I prefer to capture the incredible beauty I find, but sometimes editorializing a bit is just necessary!