by susan falk
Text: Strange how we become silent / in the presence of tall trees almost / as if they were ancestors and we / granted an audience: in their leaves, needles, in their cool / distances we strain for messages, sealed
by susan falk
:: “Park,” oil on canvas, 36″ X 18″, poetry by Fiona Tinwei Lam
Poem Excerpt: But he just wants to run / to the expanse of green, through to / openness.
by susan falk
Poem Excerpt: I have listened to the chatter / of souls in the snap-snap of seeds / breaking from its cones in spring. / Now, winter’s deep and silent well / has me submerged and I turn, / entreat that dark-eyed spirit / watch over me.
I just recently returned from a trip to Japan and, before that, France. A combination of both work and pleasure or, in the case of being the artist that I am, “pleasurable work.” I love the fact that I can work anytime, anywhere. Inspiration comes to me from my surroundings. I don’t sit and wait, though, for it to come; I prefer to chase after it with blinding faith and my box of colours.
I was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, a city girl with a backyard that hosted beautiful cedar trees. I lived with those cedar trees for twenty-three years before I moved to a new life living on farms with horses and wonderful green fields that went on forever. Growing up, there were always two things that I was very sure about: my passion for art-making and horses. I knew I was very fortunate to know what I wanted to do with my life at a very young age. The voice in my head would always say “paint, just paint.” It still does.
My work has led me in many different directions over the years—from subject matter to painting techniques—always challenging, whether it be landscapes or figurative work. Collaborating with various organizations and having them involved with my art shows is always a welcome experience. Working with “WOLF: Watchers of Langley Forests” and collaborating with twelve poets for my “Written in the Forest” show achieved results that were certainly hoped for: a small group of determined people, a big idea and a box of colours.
“Written in the Forest” came to me when I joined in a call for public support through poet Susan McCaslin inviting artists, poets and musicians to help bring an awareness to save twenty-five acres of mature coniferous and deciduous old trees in Glen Valley just outside Fort Langley, British Columbia. More than two hundred poets contributed to the Han Shan Poetry Initiative to raise awareness about the forest. In December 2012, poems inspired by Han Han, an ancient Chinese poet who suspended his poems from trees, were hung in the trees in Glen Valley for several months. I was so inspired by what I experienced watching and listening to the poets that I approached Susan McCaslin and asked if she could help me select twelve poets and invite them to be part of my next art exhibition. I selected phrases from each poem to express how I felt while painting impressions of McLellan Forest East and West.