The Grove is an old place over-taken by trees.

The Grove

About 130 years ago, it was a natural amphitheater used by the once popular vacation destination for speeches and performances. Today it’s a grove of tall old trees with a few winding paths covered with pine needles. It has a quiet, empty auditorium feel since the branches are at the top of the canopy creating a high ceiling effect. The old pines have lost their lower limbs. Ages ago, people would sit on this natural concave bowl watching a speech by a spiritual leader and is now sparsely populated by big old pine trunks replacing what was once vacationers as the eternal audience.

I wanted to paint The Grove because of the interesting patterns of shadows and the great old trees. While painting, I worked to highlight the shadows with electric blues and created the bold striping in the painting. I hoped to pull the viewer into the middle of the painting and up and around. The way I see the space, mystical and surrounded.

In past paintings, stripes were a symbol of a negative space. A place devoid of anything of substance. In those painted landscapes, if an area had a vacant lot, I would depict the space with green and white striped fabric. Several people asked me why the green and white specifically and I didn’t have an answer, until one day months later. It was a personal one. At the time, I was in a relationship that ended badly. I was heartbroken as well as had to overcome other challenges due to the end of the relationship. We had a bold, green and white bedspread. It was my symbol for emptiness.

That was twenty years ago. Interesting to me that this is the first time in years that I recall painting anything remotely like stripes. Maybe it took that long to fully recover. Regardless, I am transfixed by the blue striping effect in the painting. I may continue to work on the painting but the stripes will stay.

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