Friday, October 18, 2013

A Glorioius Glow in the Forest

"Forest Glow", watercolor, 15" x 22", VClaff 2013
The turning beech leaves infuse the forest with the most astounding golden 
glow. I can hardly contain myself as I wander in the forest, gasping at every turn... 
the lines from a song running around inside me as I overflow with joy at the 
miraculous color. How can I keep from singing? In the studio, I attempt to capture 
something of the color and feeling of this autumnal magnificence. 

"Forest Glow 2", watercolor, 15" x 22", VClaff 2013
October completes another year of life for me, as yesterday was my 50th birthday, 
and also a year since my mother's death on the 16th. As I deepen into myself, 
I feel the completion of an intense cycle. A few months after my mother's death, 
my work shifted from the expansive ridge top paintings, to the deep mystery of the 
forest. The richness of this shift for me is profound, and continues to offer 
endless inspiration and possibilities to explore in paint here amongst the trees.


The washes below become the following two paintings. 


"Beechwood", watercolor - in process, 15" x 22", VClaff 2013
"Beechwood in Autumn", watercolor, 15" x 22", VClaff 2013

I continue to explore with small studies, 
a process I find extremely useful in developing this work. 

"Autumnal Forest", small watercolor,  VClaff 2013
"Three Trees on a Hummock", small watercolor, VClaff 2013

Clearly the colors of the autumn forest have infused my work, 
and the rusting beech trees have consumed the house. 
(there really IS a house in there)













Mystery is not far from the door... 
yesterday I turned and looked out the back door of the studio 
to see a tree-spirit peering back at me. Do you see him in the 
base of the hemlock tree?


Last but not least, in honor of all that I am grateful for, 
I want to give away this very small watercolor. 
Please leave a comment if you would like 
to win this wee, autumnal painting. 
I'll put your name in a bowl, and announce 
the winner next Saturday, October 26.


Oh, and you might want to know that RavenWood Forest has a
 Facebook page where my updates are slightly more regular. 
Find it here



57 comments:

Debs Atthemanse said...

I have been following your posts on Facebook....the watery spirit filled paintings reached out and grabbed me.....so ethereal.....something ancient.....if paintings could speak......Spirit filled indeed......

Mo Crow said...

your work is aglow with that glorious autumn light!

Starr White said...

I love these golden paintings!! I can feel the joy in them - as well as the mastery. How do you do it?!! It must be magic :) I gasped at the photo of the tree spirit, as i saw him instantly before I even read the caption. Oh, I enjoyed this post soooooo much. I had a hard week, I'm tired, and this was a tonic! Thank you :))

Kimberly Wachtel said...

These are haunting in a special way. They capture this time of year and something ancient and beyond. As the past year's cycle closes, I wish for you that your birthday wishes and intentions are fulfilled :-)! I can't wait to see who wins the painting...I do love it ;-)!

Cath K said...

Yes, I love this time of year, when the very light in the woods is golden. And I love how you capture that golden light.

Carmine said...

I always do feel so at peace around Libra folks...happy birthday, Valerianna. I also gasped at the tree spirit/guardian...that and the golden leaves glowing their way into your paintings are wonderful gifts! And most of all of course the presence of your muse for all seasons, Pasha cat.

layers said...

I can sense your intense love for the woods and trees... and autumn. It all comes through in your paintings.

Valerianna said...

Hi Debs - interesting - "if paintings could speak", I wonder what you think they'd say, I surely don't know myself!

Valerianna said...

It couldn't HELP but find its way into my work... so glorious it is.

Valerianna said...

I'm so glad the tree-spirit allowed itself to be seen, I wondered if anyone else would see him. Amazing, huh?

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Kim!

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Cath... I'm sitting in the early morning watching as the gold flickers as the sun comes up, amazing.

Valerianna said...

Hi Carmine - I was really so astonished to see that tree spirit looking back at me with such intensity and wonder why I never saw him before. Glad he allowed himself to be shared!

Valerianna said...

I'm pleased it does, Donna.

Marti said...

Autumn, bringer of changes, colors, causing us to begin our inward dance; those of us with birthdays in this season, seem to feel the movement of this season deeply. A very happy belated birthday Valerianna. May these days continue with quiet joys. It was very moving to read of how your paintings have changed since your dear Mom's passing and it makes a good deal of sense to me. These are wonderful paintings, infused with a glow and warmth that touched me because as I looked at each one, I felt as if your Mom was beside you, her presence surrounding you with a special light, a golden glow that is so readily felt in looking at these paintings.

Velma Bolyard said...

so beautiful there, so like here and yet so different. wood folks are everywhere, i love how your guy peeps out! i do love the new direction your work is taking. the deep woods are hard to honor and you're doing it.

ArtPropelled said...

Loving the autumn light in your paintings. My favourite season seems so far away as we brace ourselves for summer.

Gabriella Sarcletti said...

Almost every day I walk into the forest to perceive the inner voice of the trees, I would like so much to be able to paint the trees like you do ,the deep spiritual part of the forest so beautifully express in your work. Thanks, from the far Alps I salute you.
Gabriella

Gabriella Sarcletti said...

I like to walk in the forest to perceive the inner voice of the trees. I would like so much to be able to paint the trees like you do, the spiritual part of the forest rapresented in your beautiful watercolors. Thanks, from the far Alps I salute you

HecateDemeter said...

Such beautiful work!

dori said...

Flowing with the autumn-trees - flying with the autumn-leaves - dreaming with the autumn.colors - - - Beautiful, Valerianna!

Barry said...

VA - hope you celebrated your 50th in a fitting energising and growing manner. Love the way you are picking up the colours of autumn and the forest in your work - both filled with beauty. May you have fond and peacefilled memories of your mother. Go well. Peace. B

Penny Berens said...

Valerianna, you capture so beautifully the mystery of the forest...I am in awe.

Valerianna said...

HI Marti, others have said they feel my mother near me with these paintings...she feels so very far away for me. The need for the ground and roots and trees has been deep, and I agree, it does make sense.

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Velma, its a deep and meaningful body of work for me, close to me in a way that none of my other work has been.

Valerianna said...

I wonder if bracing yourself for summer is what you really must do in South Africa... I can't imagine living with such heat. I'd melt, but I'd love the lack of humidity.

Valerianna said...

Hello, Gabriella in the Alps! It is a gift to be near the trees and quiet enough inside oneself to hear their stories. I'm pleased that you feel spirit in my work.

Valerianna said...

Thank you HecateDemeter.

Valerianna said...

Thank you Dori, I wonder how your doggie is??

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Barry. Yes, a small gathering of friends, lots of flower bouquets from our very late blooming gardens this year, good music jam and yummy treats, what more can one ask for?

Valerianna said...

Oh, that's good, I'm humbled.

Raquel Somatra said...

Oh my. What gorgeous work. I admire (adore) all of your paintings, but the glowing forest has captured my Autumn-smitten heart.

Sandra Dunn said...

My thoughts were with you all this week. Much peace and I wish you a healthy and renewed year. Fifty is a beautiful age.
Thank you for sharing these rich and glorious forest paintings - you spread light through your art and photos. Where is Pasha lately?

Karen said...

Many birthday blessings to you Valerianna....a beautiful post to remember your Mom by! Autumn's beauty is captured by your golden colors....so beautiful! We don't have "fall" down here in Florida....such a pleasure to visit yours!! Happy Birthday!

Lottie Juliet said...

I see the tree spirit, what a wonderful photograph.
I would absolutely love to enter the giveaway for the tiny piece, your artwork is so inspirational to me and I'd love to have one of your pieces on my altar.

Virginia said...

May the year to come bring you many joys!

When I lived in Chicago, I loved to walk under the golden light of the locust trees, which I think of as "sun trees," because they seem to give off their own light. Deciduous trees are one of the things I miss most, living in southeast Texas. (Also a true winter.)

I would love to win your wee painting! But regardless, your forest paintings of the past year mean so much to me. They are like looking at the home I carry in my heart, and I come to look at them often. They rest my eyes and my spirit.

dori said...

Thank you for asking, dear Valeianna. Timmi is really better now and as "spiritual and calm" like in former times after a time of hard pain and troubles. He gets some pain-medicine, this makes him feel a better life quality. I hear him breathe and feel his warmth and shelter like from a very good friend. How is your spiritual cat?

Lynn said...

Best of wishes to you, Valerianna, for this new year of yours.

"The completion of an intense cycle." That's so true. That first wave of mourning really takes a full year. One must live through each season. Grow another ring on the soul-tree. Cycles. Deepening.

And - being gifted on your birthday with the sighting of a tree-spirit!

Valerianna said...

We are surely kindred Autumn-smitten- heart spirits, it is just so wonderful!

Valerianna said...

Hi Sandra - Pasha is here, doing his thing, I think he's been avoiding the camera of late!

Valerianna said...

Thank you, Karen. My father in Florida has been letting me know that summer still prevails down there!

Valerianna said...

I wondered if the tree spirit would allow itself to be seen by the camera, I was excited when he did! Thanks for the supportive words.

Valerianna said...

Hi Virginia - I'm glad to give you a bit of your heart's home in my paintings, wonderful. I can't imagine living without the time of bare branches, or the autumn blaze just before.

Valerianna said...

"Grow another ring on the soul-tree", love that, Lynn. (I see the tree spirits ALL the time, this one just decided to be shared)

Caterina Giglio said...

lovely post as always, and yes, the forest is truly influencing your work and seems to be cradling you in your grief as well.... and 50's are a time of deep change... just roll with it.. xo

Tiffany said...

So happy to see you have a facebook page -- I'll go *like* it right away. And of course I want my name put in the hat! I find your paintings to be very relaxing & inciting introspection. Take care Valerianna x

Valerianna said...

Oh my, and I thought the 40's was a big-change time, you mean, there's MORE?

Valerianna said...

"relaxing and inticing introspection" - I like that.

Valerianna said...

Glad to hear that Timmi is better! Pasha is good, Dori, though he has really begun to shift into being "elder cat." He's getting thin and a bit crickety, more talkative and sometimes likes to sleep a lot. Quite a love, though, very cuddly and present, wise and still wild, preferring the outside at all times. >^:^<

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

just to say, i LOVE all This. Love you for telling of it. don't need to go
into the pot...i have your beautifuls spiral already...
but to be reassured by you seeing these things...makes my World
deeper and stronger...
LOVE to you, your Place on the Planet...

Valerianna said...

Nice words, Grace... blessings from the very cold forest today.

Mother Turtle said...

I love your work Valerianna. The trees really speak to me. You are very talented my friend.

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Marsia!!

Jane Friesen said...

Love seeing your work space and amazing watercolors of autumn,

Danusha Goska said...

Beech the golden leaves and smooth pale bark

Tammie Lee said...

lovely forests
both in your paintings
and
photography!

jude said...

love how the trees float