Cedar Cut (small version), 2008, oil/panel, 30" x 30" is a very formal composition. There are two versions of this painting (the larger 48 x 48 is shown below). I have been seeing clusters of trees as sculptural objects, shaped by nature but also influenced by the work of man (for example when farmers or developers create fields leaving bits of the old forest).
I like the way the individual trees (cedars in this case) merge together into one single mass. The mass organizes itself in an organic way, shaped by the natural growth patterns of the trees as well as by wind, light, water and so on. The pleasure of carefully shaping the mass on the canvas and then defining it's texture and the way light strikes is something I love.
When creating the composition I pay careful attention to the space around the central mass and the edges of the square surface. The amount of field I place in front and how high up the canvas the horizon line is set are critical to the success of the work.
Surprisingly, the idea for this image was inspired by a trip (one of many) to northern New Mexico where I had a chance to appreciate the natural wonder of "Shiprock". This jutting mount coming out of a desert plane has stayed in my head. It's magical, mysterious and very spiritual.
Here is the larger version of Cedar Cut (48 x 48).
The Durham Art Gallery has this painting on display as part of a group show titled Arboreal. The show runs from March 21, 2009 - May, 18, 2009.