Weekly musings on the arts and current events.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Have To Be There

Too bad a couple of sub-par pictures can't make a good one. The snapshot is one I took of the General Grant tree. The painting is by the great Hudson River landscapist gone west, Albert Bierstadt.

I'm long due for another pilgrimage to the redwoods. The groves remind me of cathedrals--people talk in hushed tones when they visit. They take their photos discreetly so as not to disturb anyone's meditation on these, some of the world's largest and oldest inhabitants.

My photo lacks the richness of the sequoia's rust colored bark. Bierstadt's painting missed their stateliness. With his habit of improving on nature, he turned his tree into a tart.

Summer is here; time for a visit to the big trees to see what they're really like. I know the best camping sites in Sequoia National Forest, so who will come with me?

Click on the pictures for a closer look.


DUTA said...

The tree in your photo is a lot more beautiful and natural-looking than that in the painting. No doubt about it. It's the real thing.

Have the best of fun during your visit "to the big trees"!

emmiegray said...

Sometime in the 80's, PBS did a series called 'The West of the Imagination', a marvelous, entrancing series on all the artists who were lucky enough to paint/draw these unspoiled landscapes, and that was how and when I fell in love with Bierstadt. Idealized, overblown, oversaturated grandeur. Before I ever saw a redwood, Bierstadt made me want to. I believe I understood that those colors were impossible, but I felt he was painting his own emotional response, and I believe that I 'see' (i.e. feel) what he saw.

Paula Slade said...

I have visited the Sequoia National Forest three times, and each time I felt a childlike sense of wonder and awe at how magnificent the trees are and how much history has passed while they stand in silence. It is a very spiritual place. Enjoy!