With a digital camera and oil paints, artist Leah Wilson set out to document the change of light and color in Lookout Creek, Watershed 1, and Watershed 3 at the Andrews Forest. “My paintings isolate changes that are missed by human perception, even when staring directly at the landscape with eyes wide open.” In October 2014, Leah placed a rock painted white in a deep pool in Lookout Creek and photographed it every one minute, for three sessions. The white rock reflected the colors of the stream, the ambient light, and the surrounding environment. Back in her studio, Leah made digital translations of the colors and rendered them into oil paint, “a process that takes the image from a technological interpretation back to a perceptual human experience.” Leah painted the colors in a grid, where the top panels consist of the colors of the white rock affected by the water and ambient colors of the forest and sky, while the bottom panels are the colors collected from images of the creek bed at specific gridded points on the photograph. The colors in both panels are arranged by correlating time and rounds in squares of 16 distinct colors taken from each captured moment. You can see more of Leah’s work, called Ambient, at https://www.leahwilson.com/project/ambient. The original Ambient paintings are on display at the headquarters of the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, normally. The paintings were carefully wrapped and put into storage in Corvallis when our headquarters were evacuated in August.
First posted September 6, 2023