In the forest 12/2021

As I walk I keep looking at the ground

to find something very small, very special.

Maybe a rock or a seed or a bone.

Above, if you strain your neck you see

the trees make shapes against a gray sky.

Branches are drawing their structure in lines overhead.

I imagine each branch.

Who visits there? A squirrel, a bird?

Branches break off from a wind or a heavy snow

or just: the tree is growing old.

Here you walk between trees.

The ground is soft yet braced by breaking sticks from last year

and the year before

and so on.

How far down do the roots go?

It is rare to go up to a tree and touch it.

It’s always too rough, too hard, very cold.

No one is there, just the tree.

Do you know how heavy the tree is?

You see many trees through windows

and you do not imagine what the bark feels like,

how many rings does it have,

how does it feed itself?

Here you know each tree you have seen

looking the same each time you look

but eventually looking different later.

You think “Remember when this tree was younger and there was that vine?”

You cannot count the number of animals in the forest.

There are deer and rabbits, and sometimes a turtle.

Foxes, opossums, and bears come and go at night

though you would hardly know it.

They are weaving through the trees and foliage using their noses

and leaving tracks if there is snow.

Where are their homes?

Large birds circle for something small on the ground.

They perch almost out of sight, but never stay.

Where you have looked many times seems the same

until one day you notice a dried clump

and say “Oh is that a nest?”

I have found a leaf, and another leaf, and a stick.

You cannot build a tree

The tree builds you.

I took some picture of my work in my studio: Bird on Workbench. The studio has windows on the south and east so the light is reliable and very nice. I am not painting in it yet, as it is part of a larger project and still getting work done on it.

I am honored and very excited for my painting Squirrel in Greenhouse/California Wildfires to be included in the exhibition Hypothesis at Target Gallery at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia, September 11 – October 31, 2021. The exhibition, curated by Sue Wrbican, is about the process of intellectual experimentation and exploration of new ideas and techniques in an artist’s practice. It is the exhibition's goal to create a dialogue of work in conversation with each other about searching outside one’s traditional boundaries of understanding. Whether it be based in intellectual or scientific research, or initiating a new technique or conceptual idea, each work in the exhibition will embody the concept of questioning and discovery. Target Gallery is located at 105 N. Union, Alexandria, VA; open Wednesday - Sunday: 10am - 6pm.