- Stream Bank, June
- (scroll down for description)
- 1968, 18 x 29, acrylic
This painting is the only one I have done based on a quotation from literature. A professor of ecology whom I have known for many years said that he felt that I was an ecological painter and that my work reminded him of a quote from Charles Darwin:
"It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us."
I found the words and the thoughts very beautiful and very wise. They have now become a part of my philosophy of life.
As far as I am concerned, the Planet Earth is the most wonderful thing in the universe. Its crowning glory is the natural world which is so varied and intricate and complex that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of an understanding of it. It is a great pity that we are wiping out sections of this sacred complexity due to our insensitivity and greed. These ideas are now a part of me as I view our natural world, and I do that every day.
In wandering about our property, I stopped to watch the little stream and listen to its sounds. My eyes moved up to the bank where, in the month of June, the plants were almost bursting with life and new growth. Although almost everything was green, they were all different greens due to the different species at different stages. There were countless little lives caught up in the complicated and dynamic web of life. Many of them so exuberantly growing on that day were doomed to failure. For example, most of the foliage in the picture is leaves of young, white ash trees. There is only room for about one adult tree, if that, in this mini-landscape. Therefore, most will succumb.
A decade after I painted this picture, the same spot had become unrecognizable. The species were different, the stream was altered, and a dead elm had crashed into the middle of it. The surprises and complexity are what is so exciting about the world of nature. This painting is my homage to that fact.