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  • Writer's picturesharonkingston

when i am among the trees

I haven't much cared about things in my work. What's always been more important is the atmosphere. Land, water, trees act as a frame of reference or possibly a destination but they've never been the subject of my work. It is the atmosphere between here and there that makes something interesting, to paraphrase a quote by Monet, I believe. Only recently, when I started attending to the sky mingling with the earth did I become more interested in the tree as an object and its symbolism. I still feel they are pesky to paint. A onerous task of trying to create their essence--or that place between realism and abstraction with little brushes instead of the big tools and colors I used to paint my expansive atmospheres. I've been experimenting with having these objects emerge from the paint--kind of a reductive technique. That is what this painting is and why it shimmers. The trees emerged from Italian Lemon Ochre. Today I met this poem by Mary Oliver that feels like it was written for my shimmering trees. Sometimes that happens. The words find their way to the painting long after it was made.


When I am among the trees, especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness. I would almost say that they save me, and daily. I am so distant from the hope of myself, in which I have goodness, and discernment, and never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often. Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.” The light flows from their branches. And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say, “and you too have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.”

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