Oil on canvas
60″ x 48″
I move in closely to natural objects, where texture, pattern, and shape are surrounding me. I am immersed within this new world and can only focus on what is close at hand. The environment is a cloak around me. I use my senses to experience this place within. I am drawn to the interiors of burned out redwood trees: their shapes, negative and positive; their colors which run the gamut of the spectrum; their life, rimmed with dead bark. The history of their aging is there in the wood–it is marred, burned and charred, graffiti-laden, smooth or curly. I photograph, sketch, and record the interiors of these trees and then take the images back to the studio. There I work with the photographs to find the images I want to make into paintings. The resulting artwork is seemingly abstract yet comes from real places—realism and abstraction together.
I have been tackling the problems of creating art from monolithic natural objects (redwood trees) that carry a slew of preconceived images. How does one overcome the notion of “painting a tree” without painting the entire tree from treetop to earth to the roots? How trite is it to paint a tree? How can you represent a 325’ high object in all its glory and magnificence on a 32” high piece of paper or even a 60” high canvas? How do I approach a representation that does justice to a tree’s life? What can I create that is new in this representation? My solution has been to approach the interiors and get close.
My challenge is to create art works that show a fresh and new view of the coastal and sequoia redwoods. Hopefully, these works will create dialogue and inquiry as to where these trees are located and what their status is. Visitations to the trees could follow and then when habitat and environment for these trees are threatened, well informed decisions can be made.