Into the forest

February 2012 -Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 60cm

 La forêt

Al bosque

Perhaps there won’t be too many more winter paintings now I’ve finished this. Today finally feels like Spring- the mimosa is in full bloom, it’s getting light in the morning when I leave home & there are blackbirds singing. This evening I’ve heard lots of midwife toads making their bell like music. When I first lived here I wondered what they were as I hadn’t heard them elsewhere. The male carries the eggs on his back before releasing them in water. We’ve got a small pond in the garden so we see lots of their tadpoles there. I don’t have much time for gardening these days – or I woudn’t get any painting done.  Anyway I like having a slightly wild garden – though it seems to be getting more & more difficult as we get built around & a lot of  people’s ideas of gardens is to my mind seriously lacking in imagination. I think some of our neighbours must  prefer the idea of  looking  at more appartments rather than appreciate the fact that they overlook our garden.

Recently  I tried painting something based on  lichens on rock but it didn’t work out because I couldn’t relate to it properly . But it made me reflect on how when I’m painting I have to somehow create a feeling which must come about from my memory from the sort of experience I’m trying to recall.  Although I usually start off with a photo that I have taken, the photo itself doesn’t give me a feeling of how I remember the experience of the place. (Also the printer is bad so the colours are never as I think they should be) . So I also tend to work more intuitively to somehow try to recreate a similar emotion that I can start to recognise as the painting developes.  I realise that I have far more experience of looking at & being in trees ( I walk through a small tunnel of trees every day on my way to work in fact). Whereas I’m not surrounded by lichens as an experience!

Oh dear  – no time to translate all his now ! Anway I’d probably make far too many mistakes – one of my sons has just told me you can’t translate “into the forest ” in French – apparantly you don’t say “a la forêt” . So probably the Spanish is wrong too. Anyone who knows what it should be- feel free to let me know!



16 thoughts on “Into the forest

  1. Your painting is beautiful. I wish I could see your work in person. I loved reading about how you relate to trees. I feel like your tree paintings have a kind of intuitiveness about them as well as your sea paintings. I feel that when one knows a subject well you can take it to a different level.

  2. That’s very kind of you, thank-you.

    Afraid I’m not about to have an exhibition in the States! Though a while back I did get contacted by some gallery in New York (Chelsea)- but it didn’t take too long to see it was one of those sort of things a bit like vanity publishing, where they charge you, the artist HEEPS (on the basis I suppose that you are supposed to be impressed to have been offered to exhibit in THE big city). Yet they themselves have nothing to lose given you’ve already paid them loads – so if they do sell your work it’d just be an extra for them & what real incentive is there for them to promote you. That’s the way I see it anyway. What do you reckon? Have you, or anyone else for that matter, had any experience of this type of thing?

    I think I’ll just stick with trees for the time being!

      • Thanks for the link – a very good article. It just about sums up everything I’d come to think about these types of galleries.

        There was also one working similarly in my own town (the only art gallery here in fact- they are few & far between) & I think it was trying to tempt unsuspecting artists from other countries in particular on the basis of this being “the South of France” (in fact it’s theSouth West). But anyone that knows the place realises that people come here to go to the beach, not to look at art!(And yes it IS a very nice beach!)

        Over a year back I was invited by this gallery to go & have an interview. It seemed to me that artists were paying the rent for the gallerist (you had to pay by metre of wall space!) I myself was even more put off by the fact that when I asked about customers the gallerist suddunly waved to a “customer” who just happened to passing by in the street at the time. It was a dark winter’s day & as far as I could tell no-one was in the street!

  3. Hi Sonya. Love the shadows on the tree trunks. This painting looks like the trees are dancing with one another, or perhaps conspiring to keep us out of the deep woods. I’d like to see your painting of lichens… perhpas challenging, but your colors actually have that subdued green-ness that many lichens have.

  4. That’s interesting what you say about the green-ness, because in fact large quantities of the trees in this area are covered in lichen which gives them a greeness in general on their trunks. They look quite irridescent when the sunlight is shining on them.

  5. I’m sure your languages aren’t as poor as you say- anyway don’t start thinking mine are amazing – I mostly just try to communicate & it’s a bit tant pis about the mistakes!

    Also I mostly think that the medium of painting should be able to be interpreted/read/felt etc. without needing words to explain what it’s about. But of course every viewer will bring their own interpretation, which can be interesting in itself.

  6. Sonya, I’m so pleased to have discovered your beautiful paintings via your comments on my blog (many thanks for visiting there!) I’ve been looking back through your blog at your wonderful work – by the sea, in the forests, in the beech woods etc, and I am struck so much by the sense of deep recognition they evoke in me. Even though I’ve never been to the places you’ve painted, your work captures so much the truth of the trees and rocks and earth as we experience them – evoking the particular magic of each habitat and landscape, the patterns they weave both within their own form and in our imaginations.

    I love the sense of movement in your paintings and the way you capture the rhythms and relationships between all the elements of the landscapes. I feel so drawn into this painting; the curves of earth and trees have such a grace and harmony.

    I know what you mean about experiencing and relating, and how that most tugs on creativity. It might be that lichens are just waiting for their time to weave their way into your work! I found that once they started pushing their way much more into my notice, they had a habit of capturing my attention everywhere! Last year, I did an Open University course which involved studying lichens – and they just kept on drawing me in, fascinated by the close perspective of their micro-worlds!


  7. Hello Melanie
    What a wonderful message – thank-you. It makes me so happy when someone else is able to relate to what I love & believe in. That the paintings evoke for you a sense of deep recogntion is a huge compliment for me. It’s part of the sense of common universals that link people together.

    • Hello Sonya
      I’m so glad my message spread some happiness your way! It’s wonderful to find that sense of deep recognition – those common universals are right at the core of why it’s so important to leave space in our lives for creativity, I think – and to take time to really look and see…

  8. You’re right – sometimes it can feel as though you’re swimming against a great current – so it’s nice to find the occasional drop in the ocean so to speak! That’s something that is really good about blogs I think. That’s why your writing appealed to me in the first place – it conjoured up something universal for me.

  9. hi Sonya,
    I haven’t dropped by for a long time, but I was thinking of you and spoke of you to an art dealer here in Canada who, on the whole, is not fond of landscape painting. I sang your praises.
    I love your work. It’s subtle, complicated, delicate and strong at the same time.

    I’m glad to take a look at your work again. I love it.
    Translate in the forest? How about “dans la foret”?

    Forget the garden. Just keep painting.
    And I agree with you about the vanity galleries – and web sites!

  10. Hi there Kristin

    Nice to hear from you. It never ceases to surprise me when someone tells me something like this – I suppose it’s that idea of ones existance being felt by a real person who one has never actually met & who lives halfway round the world! That’s very kind of you to sing my praises!

    I often think it’s a pity when people get quite tied up with the idea of liking or not liking certain types of artwork based simply on genre. Rather than putting it into a box, which I think can encourage prejudice & a lack of real looking, I’d prefer to be open & go by the quality & respond to what I feel about it.

    Same thing for music, I enjoy all sorts of music but whether it’s rock/classical/blues/reggae/medieval/ chanson/jazz to name just a few, I would never like everything just because it fits into one of those categories. Aside from that the categories are often shared .

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