intricate drawing of a tree with colorful autumn leaves where each color area is outlined in black
acrylic on canvas, 60″ × 48″, 2015. ©Kesler Woodward

The theme of this issue is at the heart of my work. Trees have always taken the place of people in my paintings—in their individuality, their strength, their vulnerability…in the way what happens to them in their lives is written in their “skin.” That’s why I have for decades called so many of my paintings “birch portraits.”

Many of my paintings bear titles like “The Trees in Winter Dream about Spring.” I always wonder what the trees and forests dream–as they dance in autumn into the darkness of the winter, or long in winter for the coming spring.