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Painted Beach

Kate Hodges

Cornwall, Vermont USA

Artwork: Painted Beech
Coming Alive
Blue Winter

Photography: Jordan Douglas, Tayo Gabler

I grew up working on my family's apple orchard in Cornwall, Vermont. Every season had its own work: grafting in spring, thinning in summer, picking in autumn and pruning in winter. These early experiences were the foundation of my life. The land was my art school, the barn my studio. Painting, drawing and building sculptures from materials collected from the land became my way of connecting and rooting to this place and making sense of things.

Drawn to the beech trees of my youth, I built a studio in the woods and started drawing on the smooth bark of these trees. I used only non-toxic materials like charcoal, earth pigments and water-based paints. The work is impermanent and a celebration of their being. Swaying thirty-five feet above the earth. I experienced their place: the roots, the trunk, the limbs, weather and sky. I felt a connection to a source greater than myself and to mysteries past, present and future.

Cycles are born with life and there is an inner rhythm and balance to them. With activity comes rest, with damage comes healing, with destruction, loss, with loss, unexpected new life. At times, destruction is necessary for new life to develop.

The trees teach us that, regardless of our abilities as humans to be destructive, we all have the inherent and infinite ability to be creative, passionate, deep-rooted and soulful.

My artwork is dedicated to the trees and to all the creatures of the Earth who rise up with resilience and find light in the fall.

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