ADAM WOLPERT - SUMMER PAINTINGS 2022
DETAIL, Kitchen Oak #2, 4' x 6', oil on linen, 2022
SUMMER PAINTING NEWS, WORDS FROM THE ARTIST- 2022
Dear friends and art lovers, A full six months have passed since my last mailing. I imagine many of you are sharing the sense of time moving both quickly and slowly at once. Against the dizzying, often horrible blur of world events, many of our lives have slowed down. I find myself paying more attention to small, near things.
I have been working steadily on the oak series and over the last six months have competed 4 new paintings. I'd like to share them with you here with some bits of the story of their making. I am also well along on a new vertical composition and some work-in-progress pictures are in this newsletter. Finally, I am happy to announce that we have set the dates for my one-person show at Erickson Fine Art. It will run from October 1 until November 1, 2022.
Kitchen Oak #2, 4'x6', oil on linen, 2022
This new portrayal of the beloved oak in front of the OAEC kitchen was like a return to another time for me. I was walking by the tree in the mid-afternoon in winter and looked up. It was as though I saw the completed painting before me as if I had already painted it. As I worked, I found it difficult to strike the balance between portrait painting and landscape. The painting seemed to tip towards landscape. I found that to be confusing and it created a tension in the process. Over time, the series overall has been moving deeper into portraiture and this painting appeared to be an outlier. Ultimately, the subject became the light that bathes and unifies everything. The painting took a couple of months of work and really does express the love I have, for not just this tree, but this place.
Laguna Oak, 5' x 7', oil on linen, 2022
After painting two paintings of the same tree next door, Boundary Oak and February Afternoon (featured in my last letter), I was ready to go further afield. So, I traveled 7 miles east to an area called the Laguna de Santa Rosa. After jumping a couple of fences, I met this awesome being. I have written quite a bit about this painting in my Instagram posts, contemplating such divergent topics as Tesla coils and skeletons. I worked on this piece between October 23 and February 15, 2022. The process was very rich. In the end, I fell in love with this tree and I hope this work gives evidence of that. Structurally, this painting portrays only a small piece of the architecture of this giant. This is hinted at by the size and darkness of the shadow on the grass which are cast by an enormous crown that is out of sight. Given the size and strength of these branches, you can imagine how much further up it goes. The other notable thing about this painting is its size. It's the first time I stepped up to 5' x 7' and I appreciated having the extra space to work with. I can imagine the work continuing to scale up.
Moss Oak #2, 4' x 6', oil on linen, 2022
With the arrival of rain and thick, deep moss again dripping wet and smelling delicious, I returned to the Moss Oak. As I study my first painting of Moss Oak, I'm struck by how angular it is. I was so overwhelmed by the power of this tree that I had to reduce it to lines and angles to understand its form. Something was gained compositionally by this kind of abstracting and I liked that painting in the end, but I felt there was more to explore. In this second version the sinewy, serpentine character of the tree is emphasized. The holes and cracks inspire hallucinations of sea creatures and the lush moss robes look almost like a kimono to me. Who knows how old this great oak is but it is certainly well into the last quarter of its life. This is painted at a time of seasonal change when the grass beneath the tree is still green but the fields beyond have already died back to gold. It seems a fitting moment to both celebrate life and acknowledge its passing.
Solitary Oak, 4'x6', oil on linen, 2022
This great tree stands up the hill from my house at the intersection of two old fence lines. It seems many of the really old remaining oaks in this area were saved by serving as boundary markers, a strange irony. As I developed this painting, the surrounding trees and fences slowly disappeared. I painted them out one by one like a kind of pictorial deforestation. This solitary tree is all that remained. Sometimes I get so focused on an individual tree that it takes on this singular quality, even as I know it is nested in a whole system. These trees are so few and so precious and although each one holds unique wisdom, when I see one left alone I can feel how much it needs its community of others.
I'm happy to announce that we will be mounting an exhibition of a new group of eight Great Oak paintings at Erickson Fine Art in Healdsburg, California.
As the paintings are finished over the next 4 months, the gallery will be offering previews of the collection by appointment.
May you and yours have a safe, beautiful and healthy summer!
- ADAM WOLPERT June10th, 2022