Monday, August 27, 2007

"An Intertwining Story"

"An Intertwining Story"
Kathy Russell
Watercolour, Creative Writing

I first noticed the pine beetle problem when the distant hillsides began changing from green to rust. Suddenly, neighbourhood trees began to change and our walking trails were lined with red. Homes that had been nestled in amongst tall pine trees were suddenly exposed….jutting awkwardly from yards strewn with haphazard, broken piles of felled trees. It was shocking, to see such devastation where it had been picturesque.

The community joined together, debating, discussing, wondering and working together as they struggled to come to terms and determine what choices lay ahead for their future. It struck me that the unexpected and unwanted drew everybody together, in a common need to understand and cope. Very quickly the ugly, bare yards were tidied up and grass and trees replanted, houses suddenly renovated. The need to replace the unacceptable and unwelcome as soon as possible was very symbolic. In everything, there comes a turning point, a time when we realize we must make a change in direction. There is also evidence of natural change and cycles in our brittle, red meadow, where one can find amongst the dead trees, the promising fresh green of new growth.

The paintings represent the various stages of the pine beetle infestation. I felt the forest’s struggle was such a powerful symbol of life cycles and love, and the pain, stages and promise of what can come within our lives. I combined the writing with the painting, because I think together they could create a more complete story. Words tell us one thing, and we can look at something and think we understand, but sometimes we need to put them both together to truly gain the greatest depth and understanding.
I find writing an essential form of personal expression. I’m just beginning to paint, and enjoy the soft shades and subtle details of watercolours. I chose the blue stained wood for a background; I find the discolouration is actually quite beautiful. To me, it shows that even in devastation, there can still come forth a beauty. That is also the thread of thought I used for the short writings on the forest and love. We can always look back and see what we should have seen, although quite often it is too late to turn back the tide. I believe that with the forest, and our lives, we need to look, to learn and to keep the lesson and move forward with faith.

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