January 13, 2013

Grasses and Snow

On a recent morning, I looked out my bedroom window and noticed how beautiful the dried golden grasses looked against the snow. When I took my camera out to explore them, my mind was full of the compositional ideas of Japanese Rinpa art with its form and emptiness, which I recently wrote about here. The grasses were graceful notes upon the whiteness, from a simple mark, alone, to lines of arching stems.

Snow as empty ground, as of plain or gilded paper, with the traceries of fluid marks above. 

Pale gold stems arc and reach, as though to animate the bare snow. 

Three stems, with fine, expressive leaves, are delicate ink drawings on a fine white ground. 

Two grasses, caught under snow, make curved structures above, large and small, complex and simple, a relationship across emptiness.


  1. This is a beautiful series of photos, Altoon. You have captured the spirit of the open spaces and the grasses become calligraphic marks in the snow. Thank you!

  2. I could easily see these as prints...

  3. Thanks for your comments, Tamar and deborah. The calligraphy of the grasses does seem to be asking for a drawing of some sort, but for me the photos are enough.

  4. These photos are sublime; tranquility, graceful lines and once again demonstrates how Mother Nature can teach us the simple truth of natural art. Another way to reflect on these photos- persistance and resiliance one can be against outer forces that life comes down on us. A simple bending allows the force to fall upon us and yet we can spring back up and thrive. Further more the grass is at the end of its life cycle. The youthful spring greens have altered to golden straw - natural beauty in of itself. I see the potential for tapestries in these images.

    1. Thanks, Sue, for the beautiful response, widening the metaphors.

  5. The photos are more than enough. They're serene, understated, and lovely. My favorite is the last one, "two grasses. curved structure".