For many, many years, birch trees have been stand-ins, in my paintings, for people. One of the reasons I return to painting birches again and again is that I am so impressed by their individuality, the way their skin and posture show their age, the way they are beautiful, proud, broken, wounded, intertwined, coupled, tangled, and isolated.
I have a big show coming up at Well Street Gallery in Fairbanks, opening October 1. I agreed about six months ago to fill both the large spaces which are normally divided between two artists doing concurrent solo exhibitions. So I've been painting not just my usual 9 to 5 or longer weekday hours, but have been back at it in the evenings after dinner, and working every weekend day and night. The time goes fast in the studio--faster than anywhere else.
I decided almost a year ago that I wanted all the new paintings for this show to be about birch trees and the boreal forest. That's about as specific as I can be in my desires, as much of what I do, once I get to the studio and start working, seems to be out of my hands, beyond my conscious control. I start painting birches, work hard, and their individual character, their compositions and the stories they tell come to life almost unbidden. I've been fascinated to watch them appear.
Lost Birch ©Kesler Woodward 2010 Acrylic on canvas 40" x 30"
Intertwined ©Kesler Woodward 2010 Acrylic on canvas 48" x 36"