“Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways”
Rachael Weitzman’s striking paintings of trees will delight anyone who enjoys looking at nature in a fresh and unusual way, and those familiar with Hampstead Heath and Highgate Woods will recognise individual trees and groups of trees in this powerful exhibition.
When Rachael went to the Heath for the first time, she got lost for three hours. “It was amazing. I completely lost my bearings which I thought was impossible and I loved feeling like I was in an endless wilderness. I discovered a viaduct that I didn’t know existed and two more ponds. I couldn’t believe how stunning the huge old trees were.” She also loves the Highgate Woods area. “There is something really magical about this area of woodland. It’s so unusual, even outside London, to find such ancient trees in non-agricultural land. The people who manage it have done such a fantastic job of maintaining it in an un-spoilt way.”
Now she is translating her experience of the trees and woodland into paint. “I want to convey the things that are so pleasurable to me in the visual experience of walking in the woods. I want to get a sense of the presence of the trees, of what might be described as their personality. I like to try and replicate the fine detail and patterning that you get in nature and contrast it with the bright plain of the sky.”
This show is a series of portraits of trees, mainly from the Heath but also from other London parks. Landscape paintings can be vistas or narratives but these focus in on the trees themselves. The paint forms a lattice of trunks and branches, dappled with light or silhouetted against the sky. They are characterful and strange rather than pretty or picturesque. These trees, grouped or individual are all specific, not generic. “I’m looking at Japanese prints as well as 20th century abstraction. I’m trying to combine these different elements to produce a particular style of my own that conveys a sense of solidity and scale and does justice to the subject.”
Rachael Weitzman has lived in North London for most of her life and went to Chelsea College of Art and Design in 1992. She taught there for a number of years while painting and exhibiting at various galleries and art spaces in London.
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