Friday, October 14, 2011

Lodgepole Pines

Lodgepole Pines, 12" x 16", oil, © 2011 sfsmith

Lodgepole Pines are also known as Tamarack Pines or Sierra Lodgepole Pines. In our forests they are generally tall, thin, and fire adapted - which means that they need fire to regenerate. This makes them a mixed blessing - they grow in dense stands, and thin out naturally, leaving a lot of dry wood on the ground, while their tall crowns allow fire to move quickly from tree to tree. But they also regenerate quickly in the burn area, providing habitat and preventing soil erosion. The Lodgepole Pine is named for the common use by Native Americans in the construction of their lodges. Strong, naturally straight and light weight, many tribes traveled long distances to the mountainous areas where they could obtain the wood.

What draws me to this type of subject has always been the conceptual space that exists between and around the objects in the landscape. I often define this space - and the energies that exist there - by the way the light moves through and around the natural features, such as the tree trunks.

I know that I am painting spaces that I want to explore, to discover something that is hovering just beyond my reach that I sense, but can't see. In that regard my paintings are often contemplative. I hope that if you relate to them, you will return again and again to discover something new.

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