Kisatchie Paintings Series
These paintings are inspired by the Wild Azalea Trail which is located in Kisatchie National Forest. This trail is divided into 6 segments and has different vegetation communities through out the 24 mile trail. These paintings depict a biome from each segment.
I chose the Wild Azalea Trail as the focus of these paintings for its unique beauty. I wanted to share the diversity of this National Recreational Trail, located in Central Louisiana, though these pallet knife landscape paintings. My hope is the exhibition will bring awareness to this invaluable resource that we are so fortunate to have in our community.
The first phase involved the challenge of gathering images for these paintings. It was a fun yet daunting task. I hiked the WAT (Wild Azalea Trail) for months. Every trip I would take pictures, hundreds of pictures, trying to capture all the different vegetation communities that are present. In addition, I wanted to capture and share other distinct features of the trail which also contribute to the WAT being designated an outstanding scenic value- from the clear water creeks and old trees of the Castor Plunge Scenic Area to the pure pine stands where the Red Cockaded Wood Pecker lives and the rolling hills of mixed hard wood forests. Every hike I would see something new, every season see new charm in an area changed by the seasons.
After collecting data, phase two focused my attention on selecting images. My criteria for selecting images to showcase included: multiple images of the same area, taken from different perspectives or angles; images representing one of the 6 biomes found along the trail; images which accurately captured the lighting and color of the biome/area; recognizable or familiar scenes of the WAT which may evoke emotional connections with some viewers.
Phase three took place in the studio. Layers upon layers of acrylic paint were applied to a plywood surface using the pallet knife, until components of each painting reflected the biome to my satisfaction-from the winding trails, to the shadows cast by trees, to the way the light fell to the forest bottom and leaves rested on trees. The trees are the focal point of the pieces as they were to me while hiking and studying the trail. Hike, study, paint, hike study, the repetition of this process is hidden in the layers of these paintings.
The 604,000-acre Kisatchie National Forest has been ours since the 1930s. We are tasked with taking care of this beautiful forest for future generations to enjoy and to ensure a continued sanctuary for the wildlife that call it home.
“When I am on trail I am looking at the way sunlight comes through the trees, the colors of the landscape that surrounds me, all the while pushing myself physically to explore more of this wilderness. As I walk, my breathing falls into a meditative state that brings peace to my soul as the beauty of the surrounding environment brings happiness to my heart. My senses awaken to a heightened state, and I feel alive. The wilderness is where I can go to find myself and lose myself all on the same path.”
Segment 1, Wild Azalea Trail
Segment 2, Wild Azalea Trail
32 x 48
Segment 4, Wild Azalea Trail
Segment 5, Wild Azalea Trail
Segment 6, Wild Azalea Trail
24 x 36
WAT Long Brach Creek
24 x 36