This little book is a series of 24 paintings of ponderosa pines from three regions — the Black Hills, the Grand Canyon, and Idaho. It is an opportunity for me to spend time again with these trees that I have grown to love over the past 10 years. I have added some text to compliment the paintings, both reflections of mine and quotes that relate to the pines and trees.
Version Two uses the same leaf paintings as Poplar Leaf Study: Version One but adds patterns, sketched images, and words to the backgrounds/negative spaces of the paintings. The words take the form of quotes related to leaves and my own thoughts regarding what was happening in my studio and life at the time of making the paintings.
Walking down a dirt trail that follows the Boise River on a lovely fall day — what could be better? The warm sun is on my back, light bounces off the rippled surface of the river, and the path is dappled with poplar leaves. What first catches my artist’s eye is the diversity of color, value, pattern, size, and texture of the leaves. No two leaves are deteriorating in the same way. This realization triggers a more philosophical direction in my thinking moving away from the initial fascination of design. The individuality of death is probably true of most organic life, including human beings. Although there are similar aspects of aging, the process is unique for all.
This thought brought to mind a classic teaching of the Buddha. In guiding his followers on developing an understanding of the transient nature of all existence, he encouraged his students to contemplate the disintegration of their own human body after death, following the body through each step of decay to the bones turning to dust. While this may seem morbid to some people, it is a very effective way, with frequent repetition, to build an understanding of the very temporary nature of our own being. One of the Buddha’s most liberating teachings is the deep understanding of impermanence.
As I looked at the poplar leaves on the path they seemed to offer a beautiful analogy of this concept of impermanence. The cycle from green leaves fallen to dusty skeletons of leaf veins were arrayed before me. Since I feel intimately engaged in the aging process, I decided to contemplate the decay of the leaves as a substitute for my body. Painting has always been my tool of contemplation and learning. Use this book as an aid in your understanding of impermanence, or just reflect on the beauty and diversity of the leaves, either way — enjoy.
The graceful similarity of willow leaves to bamboo leaves has often caught my eye. I finally decided to take action on the observation and what medium could better for such an endeavor than black ink. The following six paintings are the results.
This is the fourth paintings in a series of works expressing the great variety of the Snake River Basin that includes most of Idaho and extends into sections of Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, and Washington. The painting is done on seventeen Claybord panels and painted with Golden Fluid acrylics. The size is approximately 70″ X 50″. It was done in 2012.
This is the second paintings in a series of works expressing the great variety of the Snake River Basin that includes most of Idaho and extends into sections of Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, and Washington. The painting is done on eight Claybord panels and painted with Golden Fluid acrylics. The size is approximately 72″ X 48″. It was done in 2011.