Fragments & Fences
I am inspired by nature’s patterns and stories- the veins of a leaf; the cycles of moths and the plants they eat; and the character of a place, its climate and tone, as reflected in the indigenous plants. Half of this body of work was done in my home of Leavenworth Washington where it is dry, sunny, and somewhat alpine, with plants that survive well through 100 degree summers and snowy winters. The other half of the work was completed in Bellwald, Switzerland – a tiny town on an alp at 5,000 feet near the eastern-most end of the Rhone valley – where I was the artist-in- residence for two months. The forests in Bellwald were lush, and the alp meadows were so thick with flowers and grasshoppers that the volume was deafening.
I began drawing plants during an informal study of botany and geological history, and I developed my understanding of line, value, and composition by drawing the natural world. For me, plants are a vehicle for exploring the ephemeral and fleeting. They get eaten by bugs, torn by the wind, and shrivel up and die. Their structure is a paradox, both infinitely simple and complex, like the whorls of seeds in a sunflower. Everywhere I go the plants tell a story, for example Leavenworth is home to a few endemic plants (species that are found nowhere else) because the area was sheltered from the last ice age. The plants I found in Bellwald told a more personal story. Throughout my childhood I visited my mother’s family in Switzerland. The alps and the plants there returned me to memories of playing with cousins, getting nettle burns, and making alp-herb tea.