The Forest Has Ears, February 2020
Pastel on Paper and Archival Board
16 x 20 in
I walked into my studio on February 11...an unease for the last couple weeks sneaking into our community through the news. For the most part business as usual, schools still in session, but county officials are declaring local health emergencies with seven reported cases of the virus in California and our first death. For the last few months, I had been actively working towards a solo exhibition opening in August 2020 at Rieser Fine Art in Carmel, CA. The show paintings are coastal landscapes full of rich color and luminous light. I couldn’t bring myself to paint towards my goal on the 11th. I felt a deep quiet, a very brief contemplation of why am I painting when things around me are in turmoil and unrest. Thoughts momentary at best, unmemorable for others, but poignant to me at the time. The painting, “The Forest Has Ears” was started on February 11th. The color palette a departure from my usual, the idea quiet, peaceful. A sense of calm, the strength of granite slabs, and pure clean water flowing through a forest in seasonal transition. About that time the reports of air pollution clearing up in China were the only upside to this freight train coming our way. No matter where one sits politically, watching the improvement to the air quality around the globe is a beautiful gift to the earth and its inhabitants, especially those with difficulty breathing during this time. On February 14th, I realized something was missing in my painting. That is when I placed the observer in the background. Often, when designing/developing a painting the major shapes and organization of a piece are decided beforehand, and all the elements should support the idea or concept. Rarely, for me, does adding something at the end ever work out. The silent observer here is waiting to hear, still in her stance, what we as humans have to say to the world. She came to me and is patiently waiting to make sure I stand strong like granite, allow the flow of life to run through and around me, and continue to create beauty to share with others. Yes, I have questioned whether standing before my easel is a selfish act or a gift to share. I believe it is a bit of both.