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Margaret Eldred Exhibition
January 3 - March 30
Margaret Eldred – Artist’s Statement–A Miscellany of Trees
I love trees–in the garden, in orchards, along the road, or in the wildlands. Whenever I go out by foot, bicycle, or car to explore the countryside, I take my camera with me, ready to capture a beautiful or unique tree.
I call this show a miscellany because I strive to present the diversity of California’s trees. I concentrate on natives–oaks of all kinds of course, but also willows, buckeyes, manzanitas, pines, and more. I am fascinated by the way the kinds of trees change as one travels north and south, uphill and down throughout the state. Most of the pictures here are of local trees, primarily valley and blue oaks, drawn from my meanderings along the back roads and trails of Yolo, Solano, and Contra Costa counties. I am always on the lookout for interesting trees, so I take photos of trees whenever I travel–backpacking in the Sierras, walking in England, trekking in Tanzania, Botswana, and Morocco–and turn them into drawings or paintings. So you will see bristlecone pines, English sycamores, yellow fever trees (acacias), and baobabs. I also like to explore the trees planted in gardens, in orchards, and along roadsides.
This show is also a miscellany because I use different media and different techniques.
I use a technical pen for my drawings because it allows me to be very precise. I think of my drawings as tree portraits. I zoom in to a close-up view, focusing on branch structure, leaf shape, and other detail. I try to capture their individuality–what makes one species stand out from another, what makes one tree stand out from its neighbors. -I similarly use close-ups in my acrylic paintings but play around with different techniques–sometimes standard brush strokes, sometimes palette knife painting, sometimes broken color. Each one captures the light a little differently. Right now I am focusing on palette knife painting because I think the texture of palette knife marks most closely reflects the moving light of leaves in a gentle breeze.
I love painting trees. It encourages me to get outside, go hiking, and observe them more closely. Their beauty, complexity, and place in the landscape continue to awe me.