into the woods: collaborations with forests

COINCIDING WITH the six-year anniversary of my arrival in the Pacific Northwest, this new series of encaustic landscapes is a celebration of the peace and solitude I’ve found among these exquisite giants, fully outside my experience as a mid-Atlantic native. Rededicating my life to making art after decades of making a living has been a journey of discovery and submission to finding the necessary. Annie Dillard writes, in her essay “Living Like Weasels,” that

[w]e could, you know. We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience — even of silence — by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting. A weasel doesn't “attack” anything; a weasel lives as he’s meant to: yielding at every moment to the perfect freedom of single necessity.

I would like to live as I should, as the weasel lives as he should. And I suspect that for me the way is like the weasel’s: open to time and death painlessly, noticing everything, remembering nothing, choosing the given with a fierce and pointed will.

I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you.

The process of my paintings is as crucial as the final image. By slowly building layers of translucent beeswax, my goal is to capture the fog rolling through the forest as it blankets the hillside I live on — enveloping and silent. Each tree is individually painted with a mixture of walnut and India ink, then obscured, not just an illusion of depth, but creating a physical depth as well.

This show of new encaustic landscape paintings was in the Feature Gallery at Sidestreet Arts in June 2019. Paired with turned wood objects by Northwest master craftsman Kevin Poest, and found-wood assemblages by Minal Mistry on the pedestals, this show is a love letter to the exquisite native woods of the Pacific Northwest.

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