I have had a wonderful time working in my new studio for the last couple of months on some of the first works for my show at Beaux Arts des Ameriques Gallery in Montreal next fall. The gallery, which has represented my work in Montreal for a number of years, has asked me to send my paintings rolled up, unstretched, and they will stretch and frame them prior to the exhibition, so I am taking advantage of the opportunity to do some larger work for my solo show there. Gallery owner Jacquie Stoneberger came up with the inspired title for the exhibition, A Few Acres of Snow (Quelques Arpents de Neige)--a dismissive reference by the great 18th century French writer Voltaire to not just Canada, but in fact the entire New World.
I love that title for the exhibition and will be making, as always, many paintings of snow and of its frosting of the boreal forest that stretches from my door here in Fairbanks through Montreal, five thousand miles away, and around the circumpolar North.
Snow on the trees in the boreal forest is a theme that I have recurred to over the years, as it's not only one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen, but it allows me to make the kind of at once entirely realistic and totally abstract paintings I most love to make. This new 4 1/2 ft. by 7 ft. painting celebrates the kind of scene I run or ski by on the trails in Interior Alaska day after day in the six-month winter--an allover web of brilliant white covering the forest, illuminated and colored by the low-angled sun on the shortest, but in some ways most beautiful days of the year.
Birches Outside My Studio Windows ©Kesler Woodward 2012 Pen-and-ink on paper 13" x 28"
One of the notes I most frequently write to myself, and seldom heed, is, “Draw more!” I’m always so focused on the big backlog of ideas I have for new paintings that I seldom take time to just draw. But this year, for Dorli’s birthday, I painted her a little card with 60 slender birch trees to celebrate that milestone in her life’s journey. I was so delighted with it that I decided to make a similar drawing of some of the birches I can see from my studio windows.
This pen-and-ink drawing of twenty-five of those trees was such a joy to work on that I think I will make more, even bigger drawings of the sort. As always, I don’t know where this path will lead, but that’s what makes it such an adventure.
As we approach Christmas, one of my favorite times of the year, and Dorli and I anticipate the arrival tomorrow here in Fairbanks of my son Eli, his partner Becca, and my wonderful, 15-month old granddaughter Sage for the holidays, I send all my warmest wishes for the season and the new year, and all my thanks to those who follow and support my work.