Â Windblown Hemlock, 2014 – Michaela Harlow – pastel on paper (12″ x 12″ on 17″ x 14″ paper)
It was good to have a bit of time away from the studio these past few days; a mid-day walk along partially-frozen Barton Cove, lunch with an artist friend, unhurried hours spent in the hardware store to restock supplies and browse new arrivals at the florist’s shop, and of course, long hikes in my forest.
I returned to the studio on Monday morning feeling recharged and inspired by time in my enchanted woodland. Hemlock trees have been on my mind lately. This favorite native conifer, the Canandian Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), is the dominant species in my forest, and has inspired much of my work. These gorgeous blue-green trees provide food and habitat for wild inhabitants of the northeastern forest. Hemlock posts and beams also form the framework of my home studio, providing me with warmth and shelter (timbers felled to clear this site were used to create my living and working space). Usually my work focuses on Tsuga remnants. Brown cones, blue-green needles, orange seed casings, and red-brown twigs forming colorful patterns as hemlock debris scatters in wind and settles to the mossy forest floor in vernal pools. When these pools freeze, they fascinate this artist; resulting in hours of entertainment and inspiration for paintings. At the moment I am fascinated by their green, conical form in the winter landscape; both obscured by wind-blown snow and reflected in ice-pools.
Â Reflected Hemlock, 2014 – Michaela Harlow – pastel on paper (12″ x 12″ on 17″ x 14″ paper)