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David R Southwick

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Art In Frost
by David R Southwick   

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Books by David R Southwick
· Dawn Is The Color Of Life
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Publisher:  self Type: 


Copyright:  2004

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Poetic Photography

Art in Frost is an intimate marriage of poetry, prose, and photographs. The frost is real Vermont winter, ice crystals that form on my kitchen windows. Add in the sun rising and colors explode. Frost crystals shimmer in sunrise hues as nature's art. The writing is my emotional reaction, all captured on archival photo paper and bound for opening flat. Each photograph is framable...I'd like to think my writing is also. :)

The Story of Art in Frost

This is ordinary window frost. However ordinary frost around my place can be pretty extraordinary. It forms unexpected shapes, appearing in frigid ice crystals as living plants, from fern to seaweed, plants to whom the touch of frost is fatal. Other times it appears as fine jewels, sparkling necklaces, spun glass fiber optics, or art from a glass blower’s lips. Finally it can be alien, otherworldly, creatures of our dark imagination or perhaps from beyond the earth.

In nature’s art magic, dawn and sunrise weave another level of spectacular into ordinary window frost. Dawn sky hues of blue slip into the translucent frost, reflecting and refracting profusely. Then embers color the sky before sun shows its face above the horizon. Frost captures these sunrise hues and plays them with abandon while holding onto dawn blues, creating color shapes, rainbows, and hues the shades of our wildest dreams.

All this on the stage of two windows above my sink where I do dishes. One window faces east toward the sunrise all winter long. Twenty miles east stands Jay Peak, the northernmost peak in the Vermont Green Mountain range. Because it lies due east from my window, sunrise occurs directly over Jay on each equinox.

Every autumn the sunrise slides south from Jay Peak until the winter solstice, marching back toward the mountain as we approach spring. Since our cold season in northern Vermont is nearly six months long, frost forms from October to March. My other kitchen sink window faces south, allowing sunrise ember play in varying angles on each of these windows.

If these were energy efficient windows there would be no frost on them. Thinking with my carpenter’s hat these windows are a terrible waste of heat, old inefficient windows that surely should be replaced. Beneath my photographer’s cap they become gems of glass, natural ice crystal growing templates for wild and bizarre patterns I capture at dawn

The patterns are ephemeral, rarely lasting a whole day. They weave their first crystals as the sun sets and reveal wild intricate structures at dawn. The sun’s heat, those very rays that imbue ice crystals with every hue known to sunrise, are fatal to fragile, crystalline magic

I’ve decided to leave these few windows in place for as long I dwell here. The heat and draft they fail to stop are the fuel and moisture for frost crystal growing on glass media.

In these pages I share those short moments of morning as dawn ripens the sunrise. Here is real magic: moments of intense beauty in crystal phantasms. Rays of winter sunrise enter them, shimmer countless hues, slide along translucent light guides, and fling fantastic sparkles unlimited in palette. In crystal light fantastic lies the real spirit of nature.


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