For many years, I have worked with imagery that suggested a dynamic natural world in flux, in various states of growth, transformation, and at times, decline. Natural elements are, in certain ways, a baseline tenor for the metaphor of human experience: life, growth, struggle, proliferation, death. They spell us out even as they leave space for interpretation. We can see ourselves growing out of them.
Lately, I've been exploring ways to approach the sublime through some stilled moment, through more representational landscape and still life painting. I've been reminding myself lately to consciously stop, to stay with a quality of light, to really feel air on my face, to slow down, to listen. To honor moments like this, the tree paintings each have a certain notion in them, a ribbon or cloth tied to a branch, a mark left by a human hand. I've been particularly struck by the inherent beauty in someone finding hope in a tree. I do, daily. But I am also thinking of those who make a pilgrimage to traditional wish trees, the very gesture of placing a symbol of hope—a cloth or ribbon tied onto a tree—some temporary mark on the landscape left to the elements, to nature, the intention willed into the universe. Which in my mind, is a lot like what artists do when they put a mark on a canvas; it's an act of faith.
The cropped floral still lifes honor the natural world as well, although, the cut bouquets are instead symbolic of receiving something—a gift, perhaps from a loved one—rather than the act of leaving something behind. They are quiet, still and sublime, all the same. Fixed as images, they represent only part of a picture, to compositionally extend or resonate in the mind where their outer edges begin and extend, outside of an experience, and in doing so hopefully hint at something larger than the thing itself.