Art meets Woods

The artmind takes over when I stare at trees. Branches stretch out and crisscross, delineating negative space and making abstract mosaics that range in compositional feel from brusque to intricate. I am mesmerized by forests.

After a hiatus, I began interpreting coastal trees again with scrap paper, magazine and upcycled titanium slag a few years ago. Some artists like the view skyward, but I prefer sidelong profiles. I like the vertical rythym of their groupings, literally their families. I take my place beside them, in the company of trunks and branches, wandering like I would the eddies of a crowd of people or a family reunion. Tree people at lunch, or in intimate discussion at a party off to one side.

I note arboreal conversations. Changing from collage to eglomise (reverse glass) painting for a recent series of nature pieces, the role of light has become a stronger means of showing their intersections, as well as open space that separates them. Connections occur at any angle, as limbs extend and fragile twig-fingers mingle. I think back to the long hikes I took throughout my childhood in some of the worlds most beautiful forests of redwood, hemlock, larch, cedar, pine and fir. I absorbed hours of forest smells, scenes, sensations and the gentle shushing of winds high overhead. My body enveloped in green, I felt sheltered in the woods, imagining the large, slow moving beings as my relatives, protectors and playmates.
My mother was born in Thuringia, what was formerly part of the Eastern block, known for centuries as the "green heart of Germany" for its groves of mountain ash, larch and needle trees. Her ache for these places brought us into the woods every month to walk and hike the sub-tropical rain forest regions around which we moved. Lonely for a sibling, she gave me a sister when I was six: a native Hawaii'an Ti plant log, which we planted and tended. This is the one member of my birth family still alive 47 years later, through her many offspring which still live in my home.

I know trees as the lungs of the world because I was brought up to seek time with them. I paint treescapes though I live in the era of urban tastes. I do this so that people who seek recreation or comfort in virtual environs will be drawn back into real and powerful places wherein life happens in rings of centuries. If we slow ourselves whenever we can remember to, we can feel roots in the ground and then we know what is necessary. What things of nature feel like kindred to you? How do you focus on these relationships or share them with others? What have others learned about our environment from knowing you?