Beneath the Surface

Before starting "Treeline in Autumn," I asked myself why the flat, swampy terrain of Northern Quebec that I'm depicting inspires me. Why is this barren and remote place so beautiful?

The reason is its starkness and simplicity - It's lack of conventional "beauty." In this part of Canada, there are no mountain ranges or picturesque seaside views. The land is very plain, so plain that it's hard to compare to anywhere else.

I live in Brooklyn, NY, and there, I'm bombarded by visual stimuli daily like historic rowhouses, parks, and lively streets. These scenes are extremely familiar to me and "pretty" when the weather is nice. Others might agree! But the place that inspired "Treeline in Autumn" is different altogether because it's a lonely swamp in the middle of nowhere.

I usually associate swamps with words like "gloomy" or "depressing." But if the sun hits them just right, they could look heavenly. Or maybe their variety of grasses and other plant life is beautiful, or the way they're endlessly dotted with small ponds reflecting sunlight. There are endless possibilities.

Personally, I feel that this place being 100 percent in nature is inspiring enough. Environments like this are are beyond society, and have hidden beauty. They force you to appreciate what's lonely, untouched, and off the grid.

Have you ever appreciated an environment that people commonly view as undesirable?

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