More than half the work I've done in 2005 has been Alaskan imagery. I've made ten trips back to Alaska in the year since we moved to the Pacific Northwest, and I expect to continue to work in and paint Alaska forever, but I'm also excited to be exploring a new landscape and ecosystem. It takes me a relatively long time in a new place to figure out what I want to "say" about it in my work, for the experience of being in it to sink into a level of my consciousness that enables me to feel I have something personal to say about it.
One of the things that has most fascinated me about our new corner of the world is getting to know the very different kind of forest here. Just a mile from our house is a giant Douglas Fir, hundreds of years old, the top 75 feet of it broken off by a storm long ago, but it was somehow spared the harvesting that took the oldest trees in the surrounding woods. As I pass by it every day, I think of it as an ancient monarch, an elderly king of trees still standing among its much younger, lesser brothers. I wonder often what it must have been like when all of the woods here had trees like this giant, right down to the sea.
So I've sought out remnant patches of old growth forest, to be among groves of such trees, and to try to figure out how to depict them and the forest they are a part of in a personal way. The enormous foreground Douglas Fir in this painting, and the smaller, but themselves quite large firs of varying ages surrounding it, are in Rockport State Park, in the foothills of the north Cascades less than an hour's drive from our house. There, hundreds of acres of undisturbed old growth forest can be wandered at will. It's a privilege just to get to be in such a place and paint such trees.