Two days ago, I finished this painting (and interestingly on Thomas Moran’s birthday!). I had been working on it on and off for the last couple months. When I put down my brush after making the last stroke, there it was completed. It made me stop and contemplate about how we as artists know when an image is done. Repeated experience clearly plays a necessary role; understanding past mistakes and victories makes for better decision making. Yet even with a high level of commitment and time spent, it is still often a mystery as to when that moment will come. It can be difficult, if not impossible to predict. When it does come, it happens as if on instinct, at least that what it seems to me. I find it a curious thing. I will suddenly drop my brush, step away and know that everything I wanted to express is there. It is as if the creative “spirit” for that painting has gone, knowing it has done its job. It is a joyful moment. A moment of release- what you needed to say found its way out.
Here’s my artist statement about this image, written for an upcoming exhibit:
“Making my way down rock to a mountain lake, I was visually stopped by two Bristlecone pines with particularly striking curves and twists, and dramatic contrasts of dark against light. From what I could tell, they were both completely dead except for the moss growing on their blackened arms. They appeared to be caught in a battle, which is fitting to the Bristlecone. They do indeed fight, the fight to survive on high ridges against wind, rain, hail, snow, and intense cold and heat. Amazingly, this species of tree can live as long as 4000 years or more despite these challenges. These two seemed to me to be especially vivid records reflecting the life of a Bristlecone (This piece was inspired by my 2012 fall artist residency to Great Basin National Park in Nevada. You can read more about it on my website http://www.kgjerdset.com, where I have a page dedicated to it under the “blog” section).”
As with all my images posted, they are copyrighted. If you wish to reproduce them, please contact me. This is very much appreciated.