The part of California that I struggle with is the driving, but luckily I got to ride in the back of the van the whole way and take pictures of trees out the window.
I went on a lot of car trips growing up, and I think a lot of my work stems in watching the trees and landscape as we drove back and forth to California and southern Utah. I pay a lot more attention to trees than that stuff than I used to, but I noticed that the trees and sky in California look so much different than they do in Utah. Utah is full of trees standing out in the middle of nowhere by themselves, or huge dead trees. They’re very gnarly looking. Everything in northern Utah is very jagged and sharp. We’ve got the Rocky Mountains and the trees are…sharp-looking I guess. The trees in California are much more serpentine. The San Gabriel Mountains are hilly and round rather than rocky. All the trees had their leaves, and as far as I know, most of them don’t lose them.
As I snapped pictures of trees by the freeway, I wondered how my art would change if I still lived in California, or if I go back. I was actually born in Pasedena and we lived there until I was almost five, but I remember it very vividly. Every time I go back, some part of me feels at home. There’s a California girl in me somewhere. Not the part of me that has to drive, but some part. My husband is an animator, so we may very well live in California at some point. He certainly wants to. What would that do to my art? Would my trees get more snakey-looking? Would my skies get flatter, because the sky in California mostly seems to vary between blue and brownish-gray? There’s the beach though. I could get into that. There are palm trees, and all kinds of flowers.
It’s an interesting thought. Though my work really isn’t realistic or representational, the Utah landscape is a huge source of inspiration for me. I think my art will always have some Utah in it, but it will probably change to reflect wherever I’m living at the time. I may try to incorporate a little of my California girl into some art this summer. I’ve been playing with some ideas all winter while I was pining for the sun.
I’ll probably live in California again someday, as well as other places. My art will change right along with my surroundings, because my surroundings are part of me. I project myself into the landscape.
I still haven’t written about a few of the paintings in my shop, so over the next few weeks, I’d like to post about each of them. They’re all significant to me and they deserve to be explained.
Even the longest journeys begin with a single step.
The only thing holding us back is our fear, which is just an emotion. It’s not an emergency. Fear is a natural impulse designed to keep us safe.
It can also keep up trapped.
All you have to do, is take the first step. Then, take another.
Repeat until you arrive.
This piece is available for purchase here.
Sometimes, we just need to stop and drink it all in. Look out at our lives and marvel at the sheer miracle of existence, the beauty of the landscape, and know that you can always change, this is always the first step. The rest of your life starts now, in this moment.
I painted this piece because I knew I was standing at the beginning of an amazing journey. I just wanted to take a moment to look around, to stop and think of all the events that miraculously led me to this moment.
I believe that things happen the way they need to happen, that we are led to where we need to be. I don’t believe in chance or luck. It never ceases to amaze me how seemingly meaningless events can have such a massive impact on our lives. It’ s funny how we realize this years later, that how that person you sat next to in class would continue to inspire you years later, how you’d learn so much from a situation that seemed miserable at the time, and how you happened to be in the right place at the right time.
The perfection, the possibility, and knowing that this moment will somehow propel me through my journey leaves me awe-struck.
This painting features a silhouetted figure on a bench in a panoramic, surreal landscape in yellow, brown, orange and forest green. The landscapes includes mist, four celestial bodies and three trees that are shedding their scarlet leaves into the unseen breeze.
This piece is now available on Etsy.
What has brought you to this moment? Where are you going?