Beads of Ice

A Creative Collaboration with Wayne Keene

I first met Wayne in 1990, when we both worked for the Phoenix Indian Medical Center in Arizona. Wayne was the nurse manager for the medical unit, and I was a young physician.  We were immediate friends, and have spent many years hiking  and exploring the  desert and mountains of the Southwest. 

At that time in 1990, Wayne told me he had spent  more than 300 days (cumulative) hiking in the Grand Canyon. When he retired a few years ago he did a week long solo trip in the Grand Canyon.

I think Wayne and I share a deep need to immerse ourselves in the experience of divinity in nature. The purpose of our art is to show people the profound beauty that can be found in nature and in themselves.

Humanity has treated the planet in just the same way as we treat each other: endless wars and destruction, driven by greed which can never be satisfied.   We are in need of deep healing.

We are not separate from nature, but are embedded in nature. We can start by each day seeing the simple beauty that surrounds us.  If we can see  Beauty in Nature, and feel  Joy in our hearts, we can start the healing process humanity so desperately needs. 

Ice Encased Flowers

An Icy Experiment

Wayne has always believed it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission. So last autumn, when temps were below freezing, he left the sprinkler going all night on the flower garden. The next morning the flowers were encased in ice, much to his delight and his wife's surprise. He was able to make some beautiful and amazing photos of the icicle flowers. When he offered to send me copies of the files, I was quite excited to see how I could approach making abstracts from the already interesting images. Thus began this present collaboration.

Wayne learned photography from a master photographer while stationed in Germany in the Army in the 1970s. He has a portfolio of stunning photos of the American Southwest. He is always eager to share his knowledge and his passion.

Three of Wayne's ice flower photos are above.  I love the translucence of the ice, and the textures of the petals and stems, and try to enhance these qualities with my Photoshop experiments.

Butterflies and Hummingbirds

From Icicles to Butterflies

Butterflies, humming birds, and dragonflies are traditional motifs used in Southwest native artistry. Here the translucent icicles look like insect wings. The first photo (Right) shows the original star shaped ice encased flower, with a little added color. The next images (above)  have  been mirrored two fold, with colors added.   The resulting images look  (to me)  like a bird or dragon fly, with similarities to Pueblo traditional images.

It is interesting to me how different color schemes affect our feelings and emotions. I tend to use warm colors like yellow, orange, and red, in the center, and cooler tones of green and blue in the outer edges of the images.

Butterflies symbolize change for a better life, from crawling to flying. 

Flying birds and bugs convey joy and happiness, a soaring spirit. 

Original Ice Flower

A Warm Heart of Ice

Finding Hidden Secrets

I was excited to find an upside down heart in the previous images.  I inverted the image and colorized the heart separately, and made several color versions. 

I have enjoyed the Outdoors since growing up in rural Upstate New York.  I took an interest in photography when I retired from medicine in 2018.  

I love Landscape Photography, but we can't go to Iceland every day.  

The fractal behavior of Nature means we find the same profound beauty in intimate details of nature as are seen in grand  landscapes.

I enjoy finding  interesting details in nature during my walks in the woods.  Recently I have been creating abstract images from intimate nature photos, sometimes adding layers and textures in Photoshop.

Golden Heart

Sun Faces in an Icicle Mandala

The next photo (right) is of a string of icicles hanging from a flower stalk, and is amazing in its own right. I have mirrored this four fold and included two color variations (above). The face in the center looks like a Pueblo sun face symbol. The yellow and blue image works well. The red and purple image has a deep, rich feeling of the colors.

Sun face images are found in designs of the sunny Southwest, such as the New Mexico state symbol.

Native indigenous peoples had a spiritual connection to Nature which modern man has lost.  Art connects us to spirit thru patterns, designs, and symbols.  Wayne has studied and catalogued these symbols and images for many years, and has 50 binders full of designs, mostly from pottery.  My more limited understanding is simple intuitive respect.  

Icicles on Flower Stems

Ice Bubbles

Ice Encased Sunflower

This image (above) was mirrored two fold, so the original flower can still be seen.  I love the bubble water droplets and the translucence of the ice. 

The image (below) was mirrored four fold, and  is an abstract mandala.  I can identify the frozen flower heads (they look like grapes) around the outer edges, but there is otherwise little resemblance to the original photo. 

Ice Mandala

Ice Petal Flowers

I have a new gallery on my website of these abstract images. I have included some of the original images, as it may help the viewer to understand where this process started.

I love the interplay of the vivid colors with the translucence of the ice.  When I am creating these images I have no idea what is going to appear until something does.  I really have no control over which faces and symbols might be present.  It is exciting to me to discover new mandalas. 

I feel these images express a dimension of reality which is always present but almost completely unseen.   The mind is like a funnel which narrows reality so we are not overwhelmed by infinite complexity. 

Magenta Ice Mandala

Collateral Beauty

Have you have ever stood on the Rim of the Grand Canyon,  and felt like you were on the Edge of Infinity?  You can see and feel only the smallest part of the Immensity which is present.  Most people actually leave after only 5 minutes, but some people spend the rest of their lives trying to go deep into that Immensity.  

Wayne has created his Collateral Beauty series on Facebook: 10 inspirational photos of Nature posted daily during the pandemic.   During this monumental year it has been necessary to remind ourselves of Hope, Joy, Love, and Kindness.  If we can find these in sun and sky, rock and water, then we can find these qualities in our Hearts. 

Wayne's Facebook Page

Wayne's Instagram gallery

  • Steve Thompson

    on January 20, 2021

    These images are profoundly beautiful and have a hypnotic quality. Sometimes a picture is worth more than a thousand words. You have embarked on a fascinating creative journey, and your insights on the healing power of natural beauty express a deeply shared experience. Thank you.

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