Someone recently asked me about my affinity with the subject of trees.
First of all, I live in the boreal forest where I am surrounded by trees. The Norway pine, or red pine is the state tree of Minnesota, and the white pine is the state tree of Michigan, the state where I was born.
I think the white pines are king of the forest here, especially the old growth individuals. Each tree has its own personality, the way each person does. Earthlings. We’re all living inhabitants of this fragile planet, and I try to capture the uniqueness of each one. But as an artist, I also want to bring a sense of whimsy to the images.
When my daughter was born, I planted fir trees around my house. Those saplings now tower over my home, dominating the place I live. When her son was born, I planted more trees, creating my own private forest in town. These are trees that truly represent people that I love.
If I were to think of selling my house, leaving the trees would be the thing that would make me the most sad. But children grow up and find their own life in this world, as they should. And the trees grow tall and strong, no longer needing me to protect them like when they were the size of a twig.
So once again, it is a lesson in letting go.
I’m learning to let go of my kids. And to detach from stuff. The way I let go of my paintings. The way we will all let go of our own lives one day.
When I write fiction, the details of my own life automatically show up in the story. It’s the same way with paintings, just in a different medium.