Dusk in the Woods

pastel painting of snowy woods with stream at dusk
"Dusk in the Woods", pastel, 31" x 24" © B.E. Kazmarski

That “blue time of day”…a quick walk in the woods after a heavy snowfall as the sun set on the distant horizon, bare trees like sentinels. This time of day always carries a certain melancholy for me, as if a deep instinctive part of me realizes the sun is about to leave and may not come back. The moment stands in all its silent beauty along Robinson Run in Collier Township, on a trail running parallel to the Panhandle Trail.

Every once in a while I do a painting that comes straight from the heart. I wandered onto this scene one Sunday evening after a quick, heavy snowfall with only my camera. I photographed it, intending to come back to do a painting–difficult as that would be at this time of day when the light changes so quickly. But by noon the next day the snow had melted significantly, and then I waited for similar conditions for two years with no significant snowfall around the right time, about 5:00 p.m. in mid January, or early December as the time of day and light would be about the same.

I couldn’t wait any longer and began with my photos and ended with my vision, this painting, Dusk in the Woods. You can also visit this work and other related works on my website in Landscapes or Art of the Watershed.

There is, of course, a cat connection with this painting. My precious Moses was nearing her end as I worked on it, me all through the night at my easel, her at my feet, every day losing a little more physical control as, at 19, her body just began giving out. I needed a project as big as this to bear the process of her loss, and in turn my strength and calm as I walked the last part of the journey with Moses.

It may not come across here, but at a larger or full size most people sense a feeling of transition and light despite the dusk, which I credit to Moses and that time between us. And though I had taken the reference photo nearly exactly a year before, in January 2005, I also realized this was one of the places I had been the day in 2006 when I wrote “Things I Found in the Woods” about Moses, and actually one of the places I stopped to write down a few notes for what would become the poem as I wandered the woods that day.

I will always connect this painting with her, and those late nights when I disappeared into this scene in order to paint it from memory, and when she awoke and looked up at me with a deep and soulful expression I knew we were sharing the same path.

I felt very tied to this painting on so many levels. Initially it was not for sale, then I priced it way above what I knew it would ever sell for to make sure either no one would want to buy it, or the purchaser was truly serious about it. The couple who did purchase it had worked very hard to conserve this very spot of land, live above it at the top of the hill to the left and are friends of mine—I told them the price they saw was a “fake price” and we were all very happy.

I sell this image as a 5″ x 7″ greeting card, and I also have a range of prints both framed and unframed, from inexpensive digital prints beginning at 8″ x 10″ all the way up to the highest quality giclee prints at the full size of the painting, 31″ x 24″. Each one goes off with a bit of Moses and me.


Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy this Holiday Season.

Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy!

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

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Bernadette

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4 thoughts on “Dusk in the Woods

  • December 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm
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    I just love this painting not only for its beauty but also for your backstory. I’ve always been attracted to paintings and photos of a path leading off into the distance. I am inspired to dream of what lies beyond. Though this is a creek (or crick as those of us in Iowa say) it is the same feeling. Perhaps Moses found herself on a journey along the banks of this wandering creek.

    Reply
    • December 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm
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      Andrea, we call them “cricks” here too! But this whole painting, from the beginning, was about the journey. The coincidences with my run through the woods and writing the poem sealed both Moses and me together, but I will always feel she was on her last incarnation; she was an old soul, well-lived, and she could finally move on.

      Reply
  • December 27, 2012 at 7:08 pm
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    It is indeed a calming picture.
    Painting it while your cat was in “transition” from this world to the next,
    it is not surprising you feel a bond and connection with this work.
    Like a song or a smell, it evokes memories
    I enjoyed reading the back story to this work 🙂
    Nancy

    Reply
    • December 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm
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      Nancy, though I had wanted to wait for it to snow again so that I could be certain of getting the color and lighting accurately, I think I even chose to paint it when I did for Moses and me, both the act of painting, and the painting itself, a part of the process.

      Reply

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