Howdy everyone! Today, Saturday the 11th, I’ll be having the reception for “Our Redwoods” at the Benicia Plein Air Gallery from 4-6 pm. If you’ve been following any of my Instagram posts over the last 9 months, you’ll know I’ve been painting in the redwoods. (By the way, if you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me at “stephenadamberry”). This show features the fruits of those explorations. For blog readers, this painting from an earlier post is featured in the show-
It has been such a satisfying pleasure to return again and again to the forests to hike and to ponder this painting conumdrum. The woods are deep and wild and full of life— they’re messy, and yet, simultaneously, the trunks of redwoods can be monolithic shapes. The combination can make for wonderful contrasts and yet also lead to many wrong steps. Lots of failed paintings in the trash been along the way.
The show will be up for the month of May, and will come down after June 2nd. This weekend in particular (5/11- 5/12), I am sitting at the gallery and have brought an assortment of additional new work to share outside and around the gallery- paintings from Lands End, some Yosemite paintings, etc. If you’ve not had the chance to peruse some of my stuff for a while, it should make for fun viewing! I’ll have over 20 paintings combined, up for sale and to view.
I also wanted to share this interview from the local Benicia Herald. It’s a good read, and talks a lot about my love the redwoods, and why I paint them-
Local watercolor painter Stephen Berry will be May’s featured artist at the Benicia Plein Air Gallery. Through his show “Our Redwoods”, he invites you to experience the redwood groves so precious to Northern California. Walk amongst the damp ferns, smell the iridescent green leaves of Bay trees, and remember what it is to be ancient.
“I like traveling out to the groves,” Stephen says, “like a pilgrimage of sorts, to stop whatever I’m doing for a day and recharge. Stepping on to the velvety forest floor, listening to birdsong or to the creak and sway of the boughs high above… Everything smells rich and verdant. It’s that kind of experience that makes painting there a joy.”
“Painting on site is a wonderful way to really see, to sink into the moment and pay attention,” Stephen notes. “My hope is that people viewing my paintings can experience some of that attentiveness too. Each location, and each day, is its own special thing.” With that mentality in mind, Steve has been traveling up and down the coast over the last 9 months, exploring old growth redwood forests. With paintings from locations as diverse as Muir Woods, Armstrong Redwood Reserve, Navarro State Park, and Hendy Woods “Our Redwoods” gives the trees, lighting, and mood of each location its due.
Greens have traditionally been looked down upon in art, as a color to be muted and with which to show restraint, but Stephen doesn’t hold back in these paintings. “These old growth woods, in the words of Frost ‘are lovely, dark, and deep’ but they’re also very alive and very, very green. With areas back lit by sun or cut through with shafts of light, the greens really pop against the shadows.” The goal is to have the paintings let you “peak into the woods through the wall”, and to let those greens glow!
Thanks for reading! I hope to see some of you at the show! :)