This is a painting from a few years back titled Strength of Character, a 26″ by 30″ image on paper. It’s one of those rare paintings that has always garnered a lot of attention when shown but has never found a home which has always puzzled me because I consider it an iconic piece from my body of work.
It uses the Red Tree as a central figure and uses spare detail and strong color to convey a very simple message, one that might well spring from the words of Gandhi quoted above. The twisted trunk of the tree tells of the adversity the tree has faced, of the obstacles of the hard rock it has forced its way past to emerge to display its red foliage which it wears like a victor’s laurels. This piece is all about perseverance and maintaining one’s will throughout. Indomitable.
The color in the piece is really interesting to me. It has several layers that create a great depth in it, giving the painting a level of complexity that belies its simple constuction. The overall effect is one that I have struggled to recreate but have never been able to accomplish with anything near the level of grace or fluidity that I find in this piece. This color and the fact that the painting still stays with me makes this a very enigmatic piece.
Why it has yet to find a home is not a question I can answer. I can never say why a painting leaves quickly or stays around for a while. The pure subjectivity of art is often hard to follow or translate, even in my own work. But the fact that it remains has never made me think for a moment that this was anything but a painting of my highest level. It may just take a while for others to see that.