The year before I was born, my parents backpacked through the Rocky Mountains. Inspired by the magnificent cedar trees in the mountains, they named me “Cedar.” My first year of life was spent in a log cabin in the woods of Olympia, Washington. When I was a small baby, the only thing that could soothe my colicky crying was when my parents took me for a walk in the woods, swinging me in a basket under the canopies of leaves. My connection to trees runs deep, and the theme has become a major focus in my recent body of work.
During the years I studied art at Goucher College in Baltimore, I spent many hours exploring the woods on campus, photographing trees, being in their quiet presence, and simply looking at them. In 2014 I visited California’s giant sequoia forests for the first time. Every summer I go hiking in new forests. I always take note of the trees wherever I go and carry with me many memories and impressions in my mind, both visual and emotional. All of these experiences have added to my recent work.
In creating these paintings, I had many interwoven themes in mind, including the exploration of light and color, sharpness versus blurriness, stillness incorporated with movement, simplicity with detail, and the many different temperatures and moods under which the same subject can be perceived. I thought about the continuous flux of the seasons throughout the year and how this relates to the changes in my own life. More than anything, I thought about optimism, and the way that looking up into the tops of trees towards the celestial unknown and vicariously identifying with the reaching trees is analogous to my own hopeful reaching into the future.
Internally programmed to grow upwards, trees are motivated by sunlight and fresh air to reach as far into the vast sky as they can. It may seem that such a simple concept cannot be applied towards the life of something as complex as a person, but the more I look upwards, the more I seem to grow.