The edge of the woods behind my house became a source of fear...and art.
I've always used art as a way to sort out those "interior" battles we all sometimes have, ya know, when your brain starts firing those new synapses that interfere with logic or daily life. When any unreasonable thought takes hold of my psyche and I can't seem to let it go, I need to dump it out creatively.
I ran away as fast as my Dollar General slip-ons would allow
Early this summer I had an unexplained encounter at night on the treeline of my property around 10pm on a really warm night. My kiddo Finn told me that they heard branches crunching and something big might be in the woods just over our stone wall, so I very enthusiastically jumped up and grabbed a couple flashlights and exclaimed "Let's investigate!"
Over the years, we have had several coyotes pass through our property (picture 5 sets of little glowing eyes surrounding your house at night... SUPER creepy!), we also have weekly deer visits...plus raccoons, skunks, fishers and endless squirrels and birds of all sizes and shapes. We are very used to this and other than the healthy bit of fear of getting sprayed by a skunk, none of it has ever really freaked me out, in fact, I really love it!
But this night in particular, something happened I did not expect...
We tiptoed up the hill to the treeline and aimed our flashlights over the stone wall ...
I told Finn to look where I was pointing my flashlight, that there was something beyond the tangled deadfall that was glowing. Was it a reflection on a can? Or, an eyeball on a deer?!
With our heads mushed side by side we aimed our lights at a glowing green orb about 20 yards through twisted branches and tree trunks and tried to figure out exactly what it was we were looking at...until slowly, very slowly... it's head turned towards us and we now had two, very large, very green glowing orbs staring back at us.
"what IS that?!" "oh my god, it looks ...so...big."
...and then suddenly...it started charging towards us.
I have no idea how long it was coming towards us before I just yelled...
I ran away as fast as my Dollar General slip-ons would allow... I even out ran my kid.
(who also had on slippers)
Not my finest moment as both a mom and a wildlife lover...I'm all too aware that my instinct to run was probably not the best choice if it was in fact a large bear as we are now quite sure it was
Or, as my husband keeps smirkingly telling me, it was definitely Mothman, and I did the right thing to run.
(I got him back for all the Bigfoot and Mothman jokes by making him drag lights out to the tree line to entertain my new obsession with nighttime lights splashed on forest edges.)
I do not, as a general rule, scare that easily.
But after that night, I began obsessively checking the tree line every single night with a flashlight. I was going out every couple hours to scan along our property, maybe sort of hoping I'd see the owner of the giant glowing eyes....or, maybe just to re-acclimate to the evening tree line so I could get over being scared of it.
I also swore that I would hurl my body in front of my kid to protect them from any bears or mothmen in the future.
As an artist, I've always worked in a way that parallels my current experience.
Random happenings like that can greatly effect a direction art takes, and since that night I started to dream about crooked branches and the darkness beyond where my eyesight can carry me. Trees have been a common them that reappears in my work and my thought process, I also deeply consider that I am creating this work on paper created from those very trees with charcoal compressed from beautiful vines.
All the sketching and lamenting about dark trees lead me to create one big beautiful piece on canvas that I call "Tangled"