Here is my painting “Stark Clarity” from 2006.
I created this work to be displayed in an exhibit at a local arts center, one of the solo shows I did during my first year out of art school.
It was the first time I had intentionally decided to work in a series, to test my long-term discipline as an artist. This is one of my very earliest “Looking Up” paintings.
Over the years that followed between then and now, I would paint this theme relentlessly–trees in summer, spring, winter and fall. In more recent years, redwood forests. My style would continue to develop and shift over these years, but this perspective of looking up into the treetops would become one of the most consistently repeated themes in my work. Today, I am still just as inspired by and enamored with painting this perspective.
It is a winter scene, with a cold blue sky, a solitary bird soaring above the bare branches of the trees. It gives me the feeling of a lung-ful of freezing clean air, my blood flowing on a brisk walk through the woods, with the crunch of leaves and ice underfoot. This feeling goes along with mental clarity, as naturally, you are taking this walk to clear the cobwebs out of your mind–to get a fresh perspective. Hence the title, “Stark Clarity.”
(In private jokes, I also call this painting “The Dead Hiker.”)