Suze’s Art News September 2021

Our pandemic days call for superpowers of persistence, patience
and kindness. Pass those gifts on!

In the Rear-View Mirror:
I’m once again happy to be part of Mighty Tieton’s 10x10x10 competition; it’s up until 10/10/21 (do you suppose that date was on purpose?!) (Tieton WA)

I’m pleased to have received an Honorable Mention in Lynn Hanson Gallery’s annual ICON show, the show remains up until 9/25 (Seattle WA)

In August, I taught a second weekend workshop for Gage Academy at the Bloedel Reserve with a great group of people. I’m planning on teaching an in-person indoor class in the second half of October, exact date still TBD—as is the in-person part…

Bloedel Woods, watercolor on paper, 11″x15″

Right in front of us:
As part of David Wagner’s Environmental Impact II exhibit, my installation “State of the Forest” has been touring locations around the US. It is currently at The Bateman Centre in Victoria, BC. I will be there to talk to gallery visitors and give a talk on 9/25, its last day. (Victoria BC)

https://batemanfoundation.org/exhibits/state-of-the-forest/

One of my favorite burned trees not only received the Festival Award at the Anacortes Arts Festival but sold. One of the several prizes it garnered was an exhibit at the Kirkland Public Library through a cooperative program with the Kirkland Arts Center. Last year I used lockdown time to paint a 21.5-foot burned tree, and I’m thrilled to finally have it in public view. The library has a reading list and a virtual panel with me and some of my collaborators planned for 7 pm October 19. (Kirkland WA)

The Magnitude of the Problem, varnished watercolor on torn paper, 50″H x 21.5′ W in 7 panels.

Coincidentally, the City of Auburn’s Art on Main program is showing a digitally-printed fabric version of the same tree, in a different orientation, in a downtown storefront. (Auburn WA)

The Art Gallery of SnoValley still has some landscapes of mine now through September. (Snoqualmie, WA) ART GALLERY OF SNOVALLEY – HOME. (Snohomish WA)

Gage Academy where I teach a weekend workshop once a quarter or so has an online exhibit by students and faculty called Portraits of the Pacific Northwest Exhibition & Art Sale now through 10/18 (online and Seattle WA)

On the book arts front, I have work in several exhibits: Puget Sound Book Arts membership exhibit at the University of Puget Sound Collins Library (Tacoma WA) and Movable Medley at the Art Students League until November 7 (Denver CO). After the PSBA membership exhibit, which ends Oct 1, Lucia Harrison’s Science Stories will occupy the Collins Library. All the pieces are part of my lengthy obsession with bark beetles—if their chewed trails look like an unknown script, what better form than a book?

The Louisiana Art & Science Museum’s show, “Iridescence,” runs until Jul 31, 2022, and includes my painting De-Limbed. (Baton Rouge LA)


Looking Ahead

I remain incredibly excited about Below the Bark at the Missoula Art Museum opening Oct 1-Feb 26, 2022. Together with printmaker Tim Musso and painter/photographer/book artist Jim Frazer, our exhibit will open on art walk night and we will also deliver a public lecture Oct 4. I’m excited that, among other things, it will be part of a statewide STEM/STEAM program for fifth graders. I will also be a Visiting Artist at the University of Montana Missoula, where I will offer a workshop for art and forestry students and faculty. Entirely coincidentally, State of the Forest will be opening as part of “Environmental Impact II” Oct 8 at the Museum of the Rockies (Bozeman, MT).

Bark Beetle Book Vol. XXVII: Survivorship. 
Log with mountain pine beetle galleries; letterpress-printed text with inked-in galleries, handmade and commercial Japanese paper; brass binding post. 6″H x 9.5″ diamBased on a paper by Six et al.: ~7% of whitebark pines in a research tract survived mass attack by mountain pine beetles. DNA analyses of the survivors showed they produced fewer defensive chemicals (which the beetles perceive). The proportion of dark, low-contrast (“quiet”) to light, high-contrast (“noisy”) pages in the book is 7/100.

The Confluence Gallery has an upcoming show, “Something in the Wind”  Oct 2 – Nov 13. It will include two of my burned tree paintings. (Twisp WA)

Stehekin Sentinel (rotated), varnished watercolor on torn paper, 52″H x 20″W

Also ahead, CoCA’s membership exhibit will include my 2020 burned tree Seamed Nov 4 – Jan 15, 2022. (Seattle WA)

Seamed (rotated), varnished watercolor on torn paper, 52″H x 9.5″W

And finally I am supposed to be an artist in residence at Centrum in November. (Port Townsend WA) 

And then again, who knows in what form  these events will take place?
Whatever form they take – as-planned, virtual or postponed – I wish you all good health!

Suze’s Art News June 2021

I feel so profoundly grateful to be reporting on some in-person experiences after 15 months of virtual ones.
I hope you are finding reasons for optimism, too!


In the Rear View Mirror:
In May I had the honor of teaching a workshop on a river trip for Great Old Broads for Wilderness, with a terrific group of guests and guides. What an experience! (San Juan River, UT)

Photo of Suze Woolf teaching watercolor on San Juan River trip
Starting a demo (Susan Kearns photo)

In June I taught a weekend workshop for Gage Academy at the Bloedel Reserve. It’s a beautiful destination, and I am going to be repeating it August 14-15. (Bainbridge Island, WA)

Bloedel Woods, watercolor on paper, 11″H x 15″W

Right in front of us:
My most recent burned tree painting—and arguably the most complex one yet—is currently part of The Schack Center’s 22nd biennial juried exhibit, June 17-July 24. There will be an in-person closing awards ceremony 7/15 5-8 pm PDT. Judging by what I saw at drop off, I am in excellent company! (Everett, WA).  

Deep Creek Triplet, varnished watercolor on laser-cut paper and polycarbonate, 52″H x 31″W

From May-July, Space at Magnuson Gallery has a plein air exhibit with two pieces of mine in it. (Seattle WA)

The Wilcox Bridge (Washington Park Arboretum), watercolor on paper, 11″H x 15″W

The Art Gallery of SnoValley has some landscapes of mine, now through the end of September. (Snoqualmie, WA)

Mt. Rainier from Mailbox Peak, watercolor on paper, 11″H x 15″W

Looking Ahead:

I was pleased to be accepted in Manifest Gallery’s “Pattern” competition, especially once I heard the acceptance rate was less than 3%! There will be a limited in-person opening July 8 and a virtual artist talk August 5, 6-8pm EDT (Cincinnati, OH)

Winter Rim (rotated), varnished watercolor on torn paper, 52″H x 16″W

In August my 30-set fabric-tree grove installation, “State of the Forest,” will be on exhibit at the Bateman Centre. My fingers are crossed that our countries’ pandemic situations improve enough that I can cross the Canadian border to see it! (August-September, then as part of Environmental Impact Sequel in Victoria, B.C. Canada)

From October 1, 2021 to February 26, 2022, together with printmaker Tim Musso and painter/photographer/book artist Jim Frazer, our exhibit “Below the Bark: Artworks of Disturbance Ecology” will open at the Missoula Art Museum. I’m excited that, among other things, it will be part of a statewide STEM/STEAM program for fifth graders.

Bark Beetle Book Volume XXXIV: Resource Competition. One-of-a-kind Artist Book: Branch, dimensional lumber with blue stain, laser-cut wood with laser print transfers. 5″H x 12.75″W x 4″D Both bark beetles and humans like to make their homes out of trees, so in some sense we are competing for the same resource. This book interpolates the gallery-covered branch into a piece of 1×4 dimensional lumber. You can see a video animation of the pages here: https://vimeo.com/468773992

I will also be a Visiting Artist at the University of Montana Missoula; entirely coincidentally, “State of the Forest” will be opening the second week of October as part of “Environmental Impact Sequel” at the Museum of the Rockies. (Bozeman, MT).


I hope I will get to see you at an in-person event in the future!

Elevation-dependent Warming – and Alpine Fires

It may be safe to assume that no one who works in Glacier National Park denies global warming. Proof of change is so overwhelming even the casual visitor can see it. It somehow seems more intense here – though perhaps it is just more visible. But from my interview with Dan Fagre, scientists working in the Park have confirmed a greater rate of change the higher in elevation you go, with profound implications for the species the Park is sworn to protect.

This week I saw my first alpine-zone burn: small and once-ancient, twisted, krummholz fir trees in vertical stripes running up steep meadows on the way to Siyeh Pass. Even the shrubby heathers, kinnikinicks and creeping junipers remain as blackened runners. Sooner or later these will get added to my individual burned tree series.

Burned Krummholz

 

Midpoint

I’ve been here two weeks now. Because I have to drive into town to get sufficient bandwidth to post photos, my blogging is confined to grocery/laundry trips to Columbia Falls.

I have gotten oriented to the Lake McDonald valley area, done seven hikes and produced 13 paintings. Most are too tight — it’s clear to me I’m not yet fully at ease in the environment. (Forgive the low photo quality; I didn’t bring that equipment with me.)

Suze Woolf watercolor painting

Falls above Avalanche Lake

A theme is emerging – not surprisingly, my new knowledge of the Park’s centennial history, combined with the number of visitors I see on the roads, trails and in the lodge, and walking through burned-over areas suggests juxtaposing iconic tourist views with burned forests in the foreground. This is change writ large. In a sense, I’m returning to my Banff Centre work, back to the entire landscape and not individual burned trees.

Suze Woolf watercolor painting

Robert Fire Panorama

Suze Woolf watercolor painting

Up St Mary Valley (Reynolds Creek Fire)

You would think I would know by now, but I’m still surprised that themes emerge as a result of walking in nature. It’s almost like I need so many miles for reflective thinking – even though while walking I’m not aware of “deep thoughts,” just “find the right aerobic pace,” “is there a bear around the next corner,” “how much farther is it,” and “this is just gorgeous..”. If anyone ever asks me about artist blocks, I’ll just tell them to start walking.

 

Glen Canyon

October 22

I join friends for a boat ride upriver. I fill my entire camera card with photos. It was like a mini-Grand Canyon raft trip, similar spectacular scenery but louder and without all the sand in your food. Ospreys and herons every quarter-mile. However it is well-beloved of fishermen and duck hunters; unlike the Grand Canyon solitude is unlikely. And it was bizarre to round the last corner and see the dam. Also strange to see the Colorado so clear and green: because it’s coming out of the bottom of Lake Powell it lacks the silt and sediment of its enormous watershed. I am reading Tim Egan’s Lasso the Wind; he reminds me of the great irony of the lake behind it named for John Wesley Powell, who argued for climate-appropriate development in the arid southwest and failed.

Photo of Glen Canyon Dam from the Colorado River

Glen Canyon Dam from the Colorado River

 

45-minute sketch of a buttress in Glenn Canyon

45-minute sketch of a buttress in Glenn Canyon

Suze Woolf painting in Glen Canyon AZ

Painting on the beach in Glen Canyon

 

Stehekin Re-Bound

I’ve been back in the remote valley of my 2013 North Cascades National Park residency for an exhibit of my work at the Golden West Visitor Center Gallery. It’s a treat to be here again, to take the long boat ride up Lake Chelan, reacquaint myself with the people who were so welcoming, and re-visit some of the beautiful places that inspired me. Self-evidently it’s different in the spring than the fall – bright greens instead of golds, tongues of snow still reaching down the gullies from the heights, roiling water in the rivers and creeks, fields of flowers… a few more of the burned trees have fallen over but most of the char is still iridescent. I hiked up to re-visit the “live” models for Corrugated, Knotted, Trochanter, and De-Limbed shown below. I’m happy to see some of the kids from my day in the school last year at the opening.

Photo of Suze Woolf exhibit, Stehekin Lands and Burns

Several landscape views (framed) and individual burned tree watercolor paintings at the Golden West Visitor Center Gallery in Stehekin, Washington.

Suze Woolf painting of fireweed near Stehekin WA

Fireweed above Rainbow Bridge is the work I donated to the North Cascades National Park in partial fulfillment of my term as 2013 Artist-in-Residence. It is watercolor on paper, 20.5 x 33.25 (32 x 45 framed), with singed edges.

Suze Woolf photo of arnica under burned trees

Arnica blooming — rather than fireweed going to seed — under the Rainbow Bridge burn.

Wrapping Zion

No, not like Christo – more like closing the books on the 2013 Zion Plein Air Invitational. It was so rewarding to be back in that extraordinary environment. I can well believe that visitors to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis thought Frederick Dellenbaugh’s paintings were fantastical, made-up, unreal. I’m delighted to have parted with most of the pieces I painted there and raised a goodly sum for the Park’s youth outreach and art programs. Many of my pictures were bought by local residents: I take it as a sign they feel I’ve captured something of the beauty they walk in every day.

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I also did a number of outline pencil drawings for paintings that I’ve worked on since I got home. You can see that at least part of my heart is still there.

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Leaving Zion

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion (Psalms 137:1 and Bob Marley 😉

Only one more day open to hike and paint in this incredible environment. Then I will spend a day packing and cleaning the Grotto House for its next inhabitants.  I gave my  talk at Southern Utah University in Cedar City last night, and will speak at Zion Lodge in the Park tonight. Here is my slide deck:

Suze Woolf Zion Artist in Residence, October 2012

My own recursion: trees wrapping trees

This weekend with the help of four other people, three dogs and a cat, I took the large burned tree paintings, After the First Death and Burned at the Base out to the snowy woods. Ruth and I had spent part of the previous day tromping around the vicinity, scouting for the right group of trees. It took about 4 hours to stage the paintings, to put protective fabric and plastic up to keep small branches from poking and sap from sticking to the backs of the paintings, to pin them in place, to photograph them and take them down. The temperatures with in the 20’s (Fahrenheit), with light snow. Good thing Steve is over 6 feet (2 meters) tall; we needed his height so that the base of the tree showed at the bottom.

I’m thrilled with how compelling they look in their (un?) natural habitat. There is something visually intriguing about the mix of rendered and photographed surfaces; how well they blend in and yet how much they stand out. This is as exciting as when I started burning drawings of burned forests on rice paper.

I learned a great deal in the process, were I to repeat this installation. It’s astonishing how much engineering and problem-solving there is in fine art!