When cabbage grows in the field, it looks nothing like what you see in the grocery store. The outer leaves are sinuous and curving and veined. Light brings out the intricacies of the veins and emphasizes the graceful flowing leaves. When I saw the richness within the cabbage fields, nothing would do but to photograph the living plants in various types of light to see the interaction of forms that so intrigues me.
I printed three of these black-and-white shots in the darkroom on paper designed to accept oil paints. Becoming almost lost in the forms and shapes, I painted the oils on the cabbage images. Returning to my old roots in oil painting and design, I developed a kinesthetic “hands-on” connection with the leaves, the soft colors, and the blending of color and form. Perhaps it was a little like a child finger-painting because I often used my fingers with only a cloth in between me and the print. These painted prints are framed as a triptych and hang in a prominent place in my home.
After I began to shoot human figure studies, I ultimately narrowed my view to smaller and smaller pieces of the human form. Searching for shape and light and form, I photographed ears and hands and lips. Ahhh, these lips! This set of lips was compelling! How can one body part express so much of who someone is? To me, these lips not only reveal shape and texture but they reveal some inner part of this woman.
How did the merging come about? Honestly, I don’t know when I saw the shape of the lips combined with the colors and textures of the leaves. The two were shot and processed several years apart. All I know now is that I see these powerful lips as a window into the world of the graceful, flowing leaves.