Confessions of a Florentine Pet Sitter

A Clear Cut Edge

A Clear-Cut Edge

A Clear-Cut Edge is a full sheet watercolor representation of a view along HWY 101 north of Gardner, Oregon, located at the top of a long grade looking east through the trees, over the vast areas of clear-cut.

I’ve made more trips to Coos Bay than to Eugene for supplies. It’s a shorter drive, for one thing. For another they have a small art supply store called the Art Connection; there’s a Staples big box where I buy business supplies; the Coos Art Museum; and most important, there are two wonderful coffee shops that I enjoy. One is Books by the Bay on 101 near Virginia Street– selling new and used books and serving deli lunches, espresso and pastries. The other, Sozo’s Tea and Coffee, is on Union Street two blocks up the hill from the bookstore. All their food items are home-made, and they serve lunches, pastries and various espresso coffees. These two places offer a respite from the daily grind and reward for my efforts. I look forward to sitting down with a good book and a cappuccino.

On the way back to Florence, just north of Gardner, drawn to the view to the east at the top of a long grade, I see  a rather large acreage of clear-cut, an apparent environmental disaster, but it will all grow back…after I’m dead and gone. As I drive by it, the clear-cut scene flickers on and off between the tall vertical shapes of dark shore pines and alders. The clear-cut is open and bathed in light. The trees, dark set against the light, create a frame for my view. Sometimes the alders catch the sunlight, and create a flicker movie of their own just inside the row of darker shore pines. In a few places the trunks of the pines are leaning in towards the east as if they’ve been unable to resist the forces of nature, shaped and pushed by the ever-present coastal winds.

At this spot there is a short path between groups of trees. The path, lined with wild ferns and berry vines, holds the mystery of all that had once been, reminding me of the novel Green Mansions by W. H Hudson.  Dappled chartreuse sunlight spotlights several ferns set against the majority of dark green foliage, the rust of the dried leaves, dirt and twigs. The ferns caught my eye,  a prelude to what once was an enticement to Rima to flit in and out in her natural environment, living in tune with nature.

I enjoy juxtaposing the natural with the man-made in my work. I find the contrast exciting, even though I don’t always like what we do to our landscape and not all buildings are beautiful, not all changes, natural or man-made, in our landscape are beautiful, but the two things work in conjunction with each other, creating a foil for composition and concept. The contrast of man-made and natural environments brings a natural or built-in subtext to my painting—it is more than just a landscape.

I admit this is a subjective view. Many people would disagree with me.

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