I am a Canadian artist living and working as the Artist in Residence for the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve in Costa Rica.
In my past occupation as an arborist I became interested in the environment and in particular concern for deforestation activities that are happening worldwide. As an artist this interest continues and it influences the direction of work through my painting. Art is a universal communication with symbolic, visual images that bring about change, and can subtly influence perceptions.
Throughout the world we are experiencing a net loss of millions of hectares of forest annually. The relationship between people and trees are inseparable. We cannot exist without them. I have been using my art to get this message across. In 2012 I had an exhibition at the National Gallery in San Jose, Costa Rica followed by two more exhibitions in Canada. The project was titled ‘Portraits of Survivors’. It was a series of paintings depicting the occasional individual old growth trees that were somehow left after deforestation occurred in Costa Rica. Each mixed media painting was accompanied by a writing that described the significance of trees and their contribution to our earth and well being. These trees represented what was and hopefully what can be again through preservation efforts. The response to this project was phenomenal. I received many emails from people thanking me for sharing the beauty of these paintings through the exhibit and for the reminder of what is important in this consumer driven society.
I think it is timely with the concern of climate change that I continue to represent our forests through painting. It matters that art can be used to impact our thoughts and start conversations.
Visit my website at www.prairieartist.com