24 x 24 in | 61 x 61 cm
On a beautiful summer morning as I paddled along the lakeshore, I spotted the perfect place to stop for a snack. A rock bed jutted out from the forest like a skirt, dry and flat enough to pull up my canoe. I lay down on the rock looking out at the lake. Behind me was a wall of foliage created by vigorous growth of branches enjoying the unimpeded sunlight.
After emptying my water bottle, I decided to visit the woods before setting out on the water again. I couldn’t see an opening in the dense tangle through which to squeeze so I clawed and pushed my way through the dense tangled growth of shrubs and branches. But when I emerged on the other side everything was different. I was amazed at how much space there was in this place where deep shade prevented growth. And there was a rock shaped like a perfect little seat. I was struck by how interesting the lake was when framed by the trees. Since then, I have often plunged into the woods, turned around and viewed the lake from inside. This painting is one such view.
The sun was low enough to sneak in under the trees and light up the trunks of a young Red Pine (Pinus resinosa) and a Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera). You can also see my little stone chair on the left. In between these two trees were the offspring of each of them, saplings of Red Pine and Paper Birch.
Pine needles are arranged like rays in a starburst while the heart-shaped birch leaves form cascades. The contrast of forms is one of the features that attracted me to this composition. Each leaf requires a different technique. I made the pine needles by tapping the edge of the knife on the board and the birch leaves by using the flat surface of the knife.