Rivers Feed the Trees addresses the issue of climate change specifically regarding
water in the West and Southwestern United States. This past summer of extreme
wildfires side by side with the Covid pandemic created a figurative conflagration in the
studio which resulted in these works on paper. It is a procress where I am painting a
“rewatering” of the landscape. Working on historic maps showing the topography of
Colorado, the image makes a connection between the trees and a multitude of rivers
appearing in the surrounding canyons. The linear elements and patterns assigned by
map makers to the various aspects of the geology of the land are visual elements in the
landscape and the form of the tree. The idea of connectivity in nature has been a
recurrent theme in my work and is expressed in this particular series and in this quote
by Barry Lopez, “To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth
together”. Confluence, flowing together or merging, is another visual idea that
emphasizes the connectedness of rivers with their tributaries, and with the trees.
My intention for this series is for the visual images to be akin to a Native American rain
dance, a weather modification ritual that attempts to invoke rain. In our case, winter and,
spring snow, resulting in an abundant run-off to nourish the earth for the coming
summer. This series will continue until the first day of summer.