With so many exceptional works to choose from, the selection of the image for our annual program cover is always difficult. In this case, the subtle color, inviting texture, and topical theme caught my attention. The piece depicts a single bare pine tree, limbs empty of needles, perhaps a victim or drought, fire, pine beetles, or all three. Regardless, the mood overpowers the subject, making it easy to imagine the first blanket of snow that will smooth the blackened profiles of dead trees and begin the transition toward a verdant spring.
"I have no trouble describing how I work – I paint on a handmade Japanese paper called kyoseishi and then embellish the piece with hand embroidery. The “why” is more complicated but also more interesting to read about, as it speaks to why one creates art at all."
"This image was borne out of a trip to Yosemite. My family and I have visited the park many times over the years and every time we visit, the park offers new visions and thoughts. On this particular trip, I was struck by the overwhelming amount of dead pine on the mountainsides. It was a shocking sight and so sad to see, as the mountains bore the ravages of drought and bark beetle. I wanted to capture that lone tree, standing stark and bare against the forest. I added snow, because I wanted to see those mountains blanketed with a snow that was lovingly covering the damage and offering a safe haven for new life to begin.
Only after the piece was completed did it dawn on me just how personal a piece this was. I realized that this tree could be a metaphor for myself. I had just overcome some difficult days with the passing of my mother. I was battle scarred and weary. But just like the snow cover in my scene, my trip to Yosemite brought healing and respite into my life and I began to feel the stirrings of a new beginning.
Not every piece that an artist produces has such a deeper meaning, and this personal connection to “First Snow” is one of the reasons I was so pleased to have the work both included and honored in this dynamic exhibit."
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