Monthly Archives: August 2013

Changing Treescapes – A thirty-year perspective

As the exhibition of Saratoga streetscapes nears the time of installation (opening Sept 12 at Spring Street Gallery) I have been giving further thought to my musings in my first posting, in which I started thinking about what has changed and what has stayed the same in my work as well as which trees are no longer in the landscape.

Nearly 25 of the small works in the exhibition are from my first few years in Saratoga, 1977-1982, when my house and studio were on the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Jackson Street. During those years, as now, a wide range of subject matter interested me (see my online inventory), but in those streetscapes can be seen the visual themes that interested me in all my work — the way that light defined a space and brought sometimes disparate things into relationship — and usually inspired by the elements of daily living rather than iconic scenes.

I’ll focus here on how the landscape has changed in my old neighborhood since the early 80’s. Many of the trees are gone. New trees have been planted. Change happens – and I make no judgement here on whether the change is a positive change. What matters is that the city’s new Tree Master Plan will support the use of appropriate, non-invasive trees as replacements are inevitably made.  (The titles link to other information about the pieces. All photos are 2013.)

Night Snow Corner, 1977

1977 Night Snow Corner_ 5x6in_wc_ 7035

lincoln and nelson IMG_8226 low res

The corner of Nelson and Lincoln has been filled with deciduous trees – no longer an open yard with a single evergreen standing sentinal at the corner.

———————  1978  Burdened with Snow

1978 Burdened With Snow_6-5x7_wc_7110

burdened motif crop

Many of the trees  are gone. The one in the foreground of the painting was taken down while I lived there. The house is clearly visible (I had liked how it peaked out from the branches). The alley looks wider and the fencing has changed. But the telephone pole remains.

——————1978 Early Morning Patterns       and  1981  Winter Filigree Both were inspired by the tangle of trunks and branches down the street, which are now gone.

1978 Early Morning Patterns_18x24 in_oil on panel_7119          1981ca Winter Filigree_12x18 in_7477

crop down lincoln IMG_8235  One of the maples remains, not in great health, but adding to the canopy and the street rhythms.


Just shifting my view to the left from the intersection, I used the motif of trees seen against Presidential Arms. One maple  by the street has grown substantially and has had its street-side branches trimmed. (this had been painted from an upstairs window)

1978  Night Acquaintance

1978 Night Acquaintance_ 5-75x6 in_ wc_7134


presidential tree IMG_8231

The parking lot trees have been replaced   1979   Two Trees

1979_Two Trees_12-25x13-5 in_oil on panel_7281

Presidentail parkingIMG_8234

—————Down Jackson two blocks for one more: 1978  Jackson Corner

1978 Jackson Corner_ 7x11-5 in_wc_7174

jackson with shadow

You can see that the tree in front of the house and the tree to the left of the house is in poor health and it appears that more trees fill the space to the right of the house.

If I were to return to the neighborhood to paint, I would find different elements to choose from. I would miss the variety that the evergreens introduced – both in shape and color. Another factor that might affect my choices is that I no longer would be reacting to a very  familiar scene transformed by a change of season.or time of day. That happens more in my new neighborhood on Circular Street.

I’ll write more on the artistic changes in another posting.






Seeing the Forest – Getting Organized

I have spent time this past week getting a new part of my website ready that will highlight the “forest” of paintings that I have done of Saratoga cityscapes in which trees play a major role. As I look at  early watercolors and sketches, I go back and forth between thinking about the trends in my work and just enjoying the individual pieces. While in preparation for the show at Spring Street Gallery opening mid-September (probably the 12th) I will be blogging about groupings of works, for now I am providing a link to the individual images and the background information that I have started listing about each one: 

you can just type in  but leave out the usual  www

You can either pick an image from the home page grid to look at, or move among them with the arrows. There are over 80 images to explore – the text will eventually sit better with the images – so be sure to scroll down.  But I am eager to get this out to everyone and get back to the painting part.  And I’ll figure out later how to connect comments to the images. Just be sure you mention the title of the piece you are commenting on.

As an August distraction – and sticking to my theme – here are a few racetrack paintings in which trees are part of the fabric – there are a few other ones on display now at Kettlewell and Edwards on Phila Street.