Trudi Cedar West is a realist oil painter with a love of bold images. Her canvases are large stages for small, unassuming elements of nature. Each water drop and twig are so clearly expressed they convey the artist’s unbounded joy in wild and quiet places on the planet.
Amid the diverse environments she has lived, West has always been interested in the minute details of a location that coalesce to create the whole. Recently West’s work has evolved into an exploration of the small components of ecosystems. Inspired by the work of Georgia O’Keefe, West paints diminutive natural elements (leaves, seeds, nests) on large canvases with rich color and deep shadows. “Looking with a genuine curiosity into the individual facets of a larger wilderness we find our connection to it, and our place in it.”
Living in a small community in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, West paints to share the elation of the many hours she spends with her feet planted in the pine duff and dirt of the forests she reveres.
The clear simple beauty of small objects in nature draw me to paint.
I am captivated by what seems to be their fragility and yet it’s their vital connection to the unbroken whole that pulls at my core. There is an uncompromising joy in the creative process of these paintings.
My hand and eye and brush become familiar with each twig, water drop, and piece of grass when I paint. It is like finding a poem in a simple sentence – something profound in the mundane.
It is possible to step over a pinecone and know its relative insignificance on a forest floor littered with an innumerable multitude of its brethren – looking closer my perspective shifts. There is a miraculous splendor in each seed and dent – this one among many has become a universe of interest. To pay attention is to find the grace in an object.
In learning to look deep, focus intently, and listen to all these small intricate pieces of a massive whole we open up and get curious. We find that we are not separate from -or in competition with - or even an enemy of nature. We are just another small, integral, exquisitely complex part of the whole.