11×14 giclee print on archival fine art paper

Komorebi was a painting completed for the WCA Beyond the Surface Exhibition!

When I thought about the theme “Beyond the Surface,” – I thought about the Japanese word komorebi (木漏れ日), which is a single, beautiful word describing how sunshine filters through the leaves of a tree.

When I was a child, I would wander into the woods behind my house in East Tennessee and find a spot where the light broke through the canopy and blanketed the forest floor. I would lie on my back and watch the dust and bugs float into and out of the sun beams, almost like they were moving between dimensions. The limbs of the trees cut the sun into rays that were so distinct – yellow ribbons coming down to kiss the forest floor. It was pure magic.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the reason these rays are magical is not just because of the light itself, but because of way that they cross through the darkness. Light is prettiest when it finds its way through some sort of obstacle. And the joy of a person shines brightest when they otherwise have little reason to be joyful.

This painting represents the power of light and joy surpassing all barriers. It is light breaking through the darkness; joy breaking through sorrow. Bone white branches and thousands of leaves fill the canvas. Gnarled roots stick above the surface. It looks as if the tree is trying to push itself out of the ground to black out the sun. And yet, the sun still reaches us with its rays. And the light looks as beautiful as ever.

I also chose to paint impasto, with colors applied directly out of the tube (rather than mixed on a palette), stacking brush strokes and colors to optically mix them on the canvas itself, creating a patchwork effect. The use of pointillism helped me channel the movement of the leaves, the texture of the forest, and the magic glow of komorebi.

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