I had an opportunity last summer to visit Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland while conducting a pastel workshop. We were spread out painting, enjoying the beauty of the place -
but there were periodic discussions of what had taken place there. I found a wonderful old farm house with an assortment of other structures and very large trees. After painting a demo of the out-buildings, I realized that the field behind me had been the site of one of the bloodiest battles at Antietam. My thoughts about the farm I had been painting began to turn from activity and farm work, to sadness and loss. I returned to the farmhouse with my sketchbook, and decided to find some compositions that made me feel a sense of connection, family and peace. "Old Growth" was painted about a month later from the sketches I had made that day. Looking at my sketchbook brought back much of what I felt that day, and allowed me to find a way to convey a sense of unity and completeness with the farmhouse and the old tree. Cheerful. In a small way, I was able to create my own sense of place - which uplifted me.
Pastel on panel 24" x 12"