About the painting series,                      "Light Through the Trees"

Why Trees?  It wasn't a conscious choice for me to begin painting trees and only in retropsect have I been able to explain my total immersion in the forest and the imagery of trees since 2005.    Perhaps it was the recollection of the forests's stoic acceptance of all-consuming fire that I witnessed in 2002, while on a plein air painting trip on the Mogollon Rim, when I unexpectedly saw the horror of the Rodeo and Chedeski fires merging and tearing through vast forests.  

Renewal:  I believe there were many influences which caused my artistic direction to change from mainly portraiture, figures and murals, to trees however, since losing my gallery and over 1000 drawings and paintings in the historic Pioneer Hotel fire of 2005,  I have felt a growing affinity wih the forest, which is vulnerable to the irresponsible actions of domineering entities.  Since then,  painting forests has been a form of self-reflection and a way for me to reconnect with the world.  

Co-existence:  "Light Through the Trees" are paintings of renewal that spring from my experiences as an artist and are representations of the eternal story of creation, destruction, conflict and renewal.  Embedded within the paintings are anthropomorphic metaphors for our environment and exixtence.  My paintings represent balance and co-existence as an alternative perspective to replace the current pervasive attitude of dominance with its inevitable self destruction.  Whether my treescapes represent trees and forests or individuals and societies they are visions with many dimensions waiting to be explored.  

Chaos and Order:  My paintings are a constant struggle to balance the energy of chaos with the structure of order.  From a distance, the forest paintings appear realistic yet as the viewer approaches the canvas, intense colours, passionate abstraction and thick paint dominate the surface, restoring the primal swirl of pure existence.  

Primeval:  Left to its own course, the forest's singlemindedness directs it on a determined course to reach for the light.  My paintings inspire a hopeful vision of the forest before and beyond the influence of man, a portrayal of both primeval and "posteval"; a passionate tangle of undisturbed beauty and life in peaceful co-existence.  

Passion and Life:   Have you ever taken a photograph of a forest and upon viewing the photo at a later time felt that it just did not capture what it felt like when you were standing amongst the trees?  When I set out to paint the forest it is my goal to represent what it feels like to be be in the presence of trees.  My colours are not exaggerations, only an interpretation of the sensation of being in a living forest, a passionate yet peaceful place where each brushstroke vibrates with the sense of being alive. 

Juxtaposition:  Upon extensive viewing you will notice a range of polarities in my forests.  Are they representational or are they abstracted, are they energetic or do they induce the feeling of peace, are they chaotic are are they ordered?   These opposites and many more throughout the painting are intentional and purposeful in my work, requiring careful balance to create harmony, yet individuality, unity as well as freedom.

Reverse Painting:  By adopting a "Reverse Painting" technique, the light in my forests is imbued with substance instead of merely being a backdrop or solely an illuminator of the "subject".   First, the immediate foreground is painted, then I progress through the mid-ground and finallly onto the distant pure light bursting through the leaves and branches as the last brushstrokes are applied.  This difficult process of "Reverse Painting" also results in a a painting where no two colours are painted over each other, consequently all the brushtrokes are laid over white canvas with the bright white ground exploiting the translucence of oil paintng to create an effect similar to that of stained glass.  

Study and Appreciation:  When you sit with something for awhile, it is amazing what you see.  I have enjoyed my experience of sitting with the forest while plein air sketching and painting and hope that the recollection of the forest in my paintings will inspire you spend time in the forest.  Trees are at the mercy of us all to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their existence so I hope my forests will call attention to their power, their vulnerability and their essential nature of renewal.  


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