Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nipomo Eucalyptus Tree

"The Sappling"
20" x 24" Oil on Canvas
Another scene up in the stand of eucalyptus trees in Nipomo, CA. I love this spot for getting great shots of eucalyptus trees and grassy meadows. If you've ever driven up the 101 fwy towards headed for San Luis Obispo then you've driven right past this stand of trees. Many of the migrant farm workers during the depression used these tree stands in Nipomo for shaded camps to live in. Dorothea Lange stopped in this area to take pictures of these workers as part of her work showing the conditions caused by the depression for the Farm Security Administration. When I walk among these trees I feel a deep reverence for the farm workers and families effected by the depression. To imagine people living in tents or lean to's and out of cars among these trees and in the heat of the day working in the nearby fields is a very humbling experience. It reminds you to never take for granted the lives we live because it all can be taken away like it was for so many back during the depression.

Life went on even during the depression and adversity as well as back breaking work is what got most people through it. During the depression my grandparents picked pecans in Texas and to help get by my grandpa broke horses. Once the horses were somewhat gentled he had my grandma get on the saddle first because she was lighter than him.
People, like trees, carry on in life. As time goes by they are replaced by the young. This sappling reminds me of that cycle...that life will go on despite the experiences, and sometimes ordeals, life will throw at us all.


Mick Carney said...

Even without your attached narrative this painting exudes a depth of emotion and involvement that is rare. Everything from the small highlighted sapling leaves to the beautiful textured bark of the large tree work toward telling a tale of age and renewal.

Your text is moving and brings out the political in me. People in hardship often show some of the greatest attributes of humanity but I find it difficult to ignore the others who are responsible for their plight.

Maggie Latham said...

Ron, I always love your insightful snippets that you post. How wonderful to be thinking about all this, the people, the history, and indeed the meaning of life(?) ......while painting your beautiful landscapes. These trees look like sentries, guarding the land. I particularly like the dry brushing effects in the lower right hand corner.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Mick...Thanks Mick for the comments. Sorry to get long winded, I was hoping my drive to paint this scene was going to show through. All of my relatives aren't that art inclined so when some of them saw it the general comment was nice tree, haha. Tough crowd.

Hi Maggie...Thanks too for taking a look and the nice comments. I used to joke with people that it takes me forever to read a book because as I read I'm seeing this movie inside of my head and it's very detailed. If the details aren't there I go back a few paragraphs to re-read until the images arrive.
I think as I walked the stand of trees I'm doing the same thing...trying to visualize what was there before and how it all worked..the smoke from the fires, the sounds of tired workers, their kids playing among the trees. I do this at other locations too, imagining painters setting up there or looking around for a good spot, the indians and people on horseback...trying to imagine what the differences to the landscape would have been. I wonder sometimes how close my visions are to these past moments and places.
Thanks Maggie.

Marian Fortunati said...

Another beauty, Ron. I love the way you handled the grasses and that branch with leaves...

Weren't those photos that Lange took, amazing???

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Marian,
I was on a project last year for a show up there in Nipomo and had to look through tons of photos that she took as well as other photographers in the FSA program...awesome, thought provoking and heart wrenching. I never realised that Lange was married to Maynard Dixon for a while.
Thanks Marian.