Three Rivers Journey Artist Statement
Nature is where I go to seek a sense of connection, where I look for answers, where I go in search of myself; it is the spark for a conversation in paint. These paintings are the result of a journey down the Bonnet Plume River in the Yukon Territory; they are records of specific places as well as an exploration of what these wild places said to me. I have combined panels to express connections between varied perspectives, in general, an outward and downward gaze. The following are some reflections from the trip that influenced each of the four paintings made for this project:
On the river, on land, in the air, repeating patterns call my attention to the continuity of creation; the sinuous form of lichen, the winding path of trees down the mountainside, the braiding of the river, the veins in a leaf - in my wrist. The fragments alone are perhaps insignificant, but similarities of form speak of a connection and of an importance to the whole. All in a moment I look down and see apparent randomness, but looking up the lines connect and all becomes one.
My fellow travelers share their expertise in various areas, the naming of plants and birds, in navigation of the river, in the history of the land. We learn from each other and regard one anothers' treasures with keen interest - things we may have passed by and not noticed, a unique stone, a wildflower, a nest, a strawberry patch. I watch the other "travelers" - the wild residents we meet, presumably they have their treasures too, do they marvel at sunlight on the water or dewdrops in lupin leaves?
Time looms large; the happenings of millennia revealed in rock formations that tower overhead, the distant past in the adaptation of the river route, recent days in the passing of an animal whose tracks cross the sand, now my tracks. Science examines the natural world, establishes it's history and extrapolates the future, but I imagine an intuitive approach - what wisdom might be revealed or remembered if I knew where to look or how to read the reflections in the river?
Returning home, we fly back along the watershed we have just journeyed through. The evening light on the mountains turns them into a rolling sea of red. My first impression is that these mountains have been here forever and will be here forever - but the glint of the river below reminds me otherwise; that they too are moving and changing, albeit at their own pace.
Man, mountain and river, we share an underlying pattern and plan; travelling along the curve of time we are all returning home.