After the First Death

after the first deathPainting Details

Watercolor on gessoed archival paper
76 x 50
I saw several trees nearby with this large-grain pattern fire scarring. This tree grew near the Stanley Glacier Trail in Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, and I painted it while in residence at the Banff Centre. I wanted the viewer to share the impact these burnt trees have on me, so I made it almost twice life-size. I had to climb on a step to paint it.
The title refers to the Dylan Thomas poem, A Refusal To Mourn The Death, By Fire, Of A Child In London, which ends "After the first death, there is no other."

_dsc0217suze.jpgInstalled (Ruth Nielsen photo)

Installation detail (Ruth Nielsen photo)

In January I took it out to the woods to photograph it wrapped around a local tree. I would like to exhibit it on a half-round bas-relief column, emphasizing the contrast between idealized tree shape and this specific burnt specimen.