Two for Tuesday & the Beauty of Hemlock 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. Reflected Hemlock, 2014 – Michaela Harlow – pastel on paper (12″ x 12″ on 17″ x 14″ paper)

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One Comment

  1. Jen February 5, 2014 at 8:20 am #

    Wow – that Reflected Hemlock is so eye catching! It feels more commanding of my attention than the Windblown Hemlock below it. The top one feels more certain. Oh! I know what it is! It’s that the ripples suggest some kind of action, a story. Why is the water rippling? It allows the viewer to get into the piece and wonder about it, add his or her own information to it in an active way. I think that’s a powerful effect. For me, more so than something like the bottom piece where I feel much more like an outside observer and the piece doesn’t seem to ask me to wonder about it as much. Interesting.

    I know what you mean about your love of hemlock. I feel it too. Our neighbors were getting ready to “trim” the top 8 – 10 feet off the line of them between our houses last summer. I know people do this and that it’s normal practice to chop off the hemlocks “wizard hats” when people use them for a buffer. Maybe I was being a crazy-lady when I enlisted Chip to run outside with me and beg the neighbors to leave their hemlocks alone! They only got to one and then they stopped. I’m sure they think I’m wacky and probably hate how “unruly” their trees look.