Family trees

There is a small collection of photographs my grandfather took with his Kodak bellows camera in the 1930s and 40s.  Printed on heavy card stock, these photographs remind me of old postcards.  In amongst the family portraits are two sepia toned images of what appear to be early Vancouver landscapes.  One depicts two men and a tent in the foreground surrounded by massive trunks of Western red cedars.  Instinct is to turn the photograph over, half expecting to find a faded message informing the recipient of their whereabouts and idle thoughts.  Settlers, as these, came to the west coast of British Columbia to push back the barrier of the forest, to tame the wildness.  The deliberate removal of forest remains one of the most significant ways in which humans modify the environment.  Yet, in this province, ideas embodied by dwelling and forests, wilderness or even a solitary tree are ingrained deep within our identity.  Having grown up amidst towering trees, I cannot separate the two.

Living near water

I live in an older home built in 1938 that feels to be wedged between the forest and the sea, though both forest and sea are relatively tame and sheltered here.  The yard is an extension of this urban forest with overgrown rhododendrons and hydrangea bushes growing amidst native trees and ferns.   Early travelers to this place would have encountered an unbroken wall of thick old-growth Douglas-fir forest running down to the shoreline.   These trees became timber for railway ties and the building associated with a flourishing mill town.  The yard houses two tall Douglas-fir trees that were amongst the first to germinate after the initial logging of the hillside 125 years ago.
My art comes out of this place, both local and distant, real and imagined.