This piece is from 2014, but it seemed fitting to write about it now, since I just went back to make some adjustments and since my last blog post was also about trees. There were some aspects of this painting I wasn't quite satisfied with before, and I went back to it and touched it up. I'm much more satisfied with it now. I felt very drawn to this grouping of three trees ever since I first laid eyes on them. The roots of the center tree are particularly fascinating, but the trees as a trio are also very striking for their shapes and the pair of two light, slim trees, with the darker somewhat damaged one. I used to love to go to this trail in the fall and sit to listen to the wind in the leaves and watch them fall. Being among trees like this is spiritual experience for me. As with Ellis Hall Maples, I conceive of this painting as a tree portrait and each tree as a unique individual.
This painting is adapted from a photograph I took of the brilliant red maples outside the Ellis Hall building at Ohio University. I'm often fascinated by trees and their uniqueness. When I paint a tree, I feel I am painting a kind of portrait and I like the tree or trees to be the focus of the painting. In this particular piece I wanted to give a sense of the leaves and branches swaying in a light wind, of looking up into the trees and being aware of nothing else. Just their colors, the sunlight streaming through the leaves, and their gentle motion.
Glacier with Northern Lights started with me poring over photos of ice during the winter. Winters where I live tend to have a bit less snow than I would like, so this was a way to satisfy my longing for snow. In images of Iceland I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of ice and greenery. For the painting, I knew I wanted to create something with texture and I decided to incorporate coarse sea salt into the glacier ice (there is some in the sky as well, to suggest a star field.) Of course I had to make this a night scene so i could include the Aurora Borealis. Hints of pink in the glacier reflect the sky above. Glacier with Northern Lights is another visit to a place I will probably never see in person and so I've created a stylized work open to imagination and interpretation.
BHawaii was created after pouring through many, many photographs. I'm fascinated by the light patterns waves create in shallow water, as well as the undulating shapes their motion creates in the sand, so I placed these elements at the forefront of the painting. The water is shallow in the foreground, suggesting the viewer is positioned on or near the beach, but I left the beach out of the foreground in order to keep the focus on the water. Instead, the beach curves around outside the purview of the image on the right side and appears again on the horizon. I've never been to Hawaii, so this is another work created based upon a combination of research and imagination. I've read about other people with ME/CFS using their imaginations to help cope with not being able to get out much (or at all) and I find this really helpful. Being able to imagine is important for everyone and one of the reasons I choose not to paint realistically is that I find paintings that are less realistic work better for me in opening my sense of imagination.
Wave in Pre-Dawn Light is also based off of a photograph from the trip to Long Beach. I worked toward an even more simplified version of the wave form, drawing the eye to the place on the lower left side of the painting where the wave meets the sand and there is a little reflection indicated. A sense of deep inner stillness is important to this piece. in this place there is no sound but one's own breathing and the ebb and flow of the ocean.
This work is very loosely based on the same photograph I used for Long Beach, but it's much more expressionistic in nature. The surf is very heavily painted in impasto to give a sense of the strength and motion of the waves. The clouds are wisps moving quickly across the sky. This is a much more energetic work than Long Beach, which is has a sense of stillness, while in Windswept Beach the focus is on the sense of motion.
This work is based on a photograph from a trip my family took to California about twenty years ago. We took the trip in April, but the beach was very cold. I only have the print of the photograph I used as a reference-- no negative (it was taken with a film camera), so there is quite a bit of interpretation in the painting. It was important that there be a lot of empty space in this painting. I wanted this work to be simplified, for the beach and the sky to act as color fields and give a sense of meditative stillness.
Bora Bora Coastline is based off of multiple aerial views of the coast of Bora Bora. It's not a place I've ever been and one I am unlikely to visit, but the magic of tropical beaches and their colors lingers in my imagination. I am fascinated by aerial views depicting shapes of the waves as they move toward the shore. In this painting I am particularly fond of the tiny impasto waves along the beach.