Trees of Life
Trees have always been a part of what Gwen does. This series is meant to focus on them, their uniqueness and variety, and to try to capture the joy they have always brought her.
Gwen walks almost daily, no matter the weather, and many of her paintings are images from her own property. In the past decade or so, she has taken up hiking in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, BC, and Montana because spending all day in the forest is so fulfilling. At such times, she feels a call to go and be in the forest – the Japanese call it “forest bathing” – a grounding and inspiring experience. Taking time to study the different trees as she paints them brings her even closer to the maker and designer of them, creating a more spiritual experience.
This scripture inspired Gwen and helped lead to this series.
“So you’ll go out in JOY, you’ll be led into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause. No more thistles, but giant sequoias, (another name for Giant Redwood) no more thorn bushes but stately pines, monuments to me, to God living and lasting evidence of God.” – Isaiah 55:12 &13
Gwen has been developing this series over the past couple of years. She’s been drawn to the aspect of paths all her life. What’s down that path, were does it lead? Every path presents a possibility, a new journey and a mystery of its own. Pathways in sand dunes, up mountain rocky ledges, along lake shores, dense forests, and wetland areas, have each in every situation, captured her interest. Sharing her intrigue and wonder of pathways with her audience is a new goal and she’s excited about where this “path” will take her.
Gwen developed this series a number of years ago using encaustic and mixed media. These pieces are all of natural scenes she’s personally enjoyed. First, she looks for old poems that seem to align with the scene. Then she embeds the poem within the piece with her own handwriting. Not necessarily to be read, but to become a part of the design. At other times, she’s taken an idea or part of a poem and looked for an image from her photo gallery that would mirror the beauty within the words. This series continues to evolve and she’s always open to new inspirations using the joy of poetry within encaustic art.
This is her newest series in encaustic, developed from a recent painting trip high up in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, within the area around Lake Ohara BC. This outdoor adventurous trip really impacted Gwen on many levels. The stunning, raw and rugged beauty inspired her to do a series of large, somewhat abstracted encaustic pieces that she hopes depicts her own awe and wonder of the grandeur of God’s created world.
Close to Home
This series of paintings, mostly plein airoils, are ones that are within a short walk or short drive from her home. They are a result of a 30 day paint from life challenge that has required her to see more clearly all the beauty that’s really right outside her door. Painting plein airpushes an artist to a new level of being fully alive and incredible heightened senses. The changing light, the unpredictable nature of being outdoors in all kinds of weather. There are always other lessons and a sharpening of one’s senses that comes with painting outdoors. Gwen has been freshly inspired by what’s out her windows to what’s just down the road. “Often, we look to far a field to find beauty and inspiration, yet really if our eyes are open, its all there, Close to Home! “
Gwen has enjoyed working from still life over the years, mostly in oils, some in watercolor of fresh veggies, fruit or flowers. Gwen loves the amazing array of colour, shapes and simple beauty that can be found in a small bowl of lemons for example. This process can be extremely rewarding and sharpens her eyes to really look and see with FRESH eyes. These are mostly painted from living objects, in a still life set up with in her home studio. “No matter how simple you think a subject is, there are always so many subtle nuances. You discover these by really studying it for several hours during the painting process, and it always blows me away.”