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."

Installed (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.

As the climate warms, forest fires are becoming more frequent and catastrophic in the western United States. My deep anxiety with the impacts of climate change on wilderness are emerging in this series. Burned-over areas of forest are riveting. Unfamiliar tree forms are newly exposed. Formerly hidden terrain features become visible. Normal greens, blues and browns are transformed. All the worst fires of the last fifty years have occured in the last five years.

Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about any of my images. All represent original paintings, not reproductions. I have many more paintings than are shown on this site. And, since I frequently work in series, there may be additional views of the subjects shown here.