The Art of Trees, with Adam Wolpert – Ep 5
November 24, 2021
ON TODAY’S EPISODE
Today I’m excited for you to meet an extraordinary artist from Sonoma County, California. His name is Adam Wolpert. For quite a few years, Adam has been involved in painting the local landscape, but lately, which caught my attention, his art shifted. Not only did it become bigger, but it became simpler. Now it is mostly just about trees.
Every time his work takes a quantum leap forward, I am always excited to catch up with him to learn why. What just happened? How is it possible these paintings have become so so powerful?
At first blush, if you are just listening, the subject seems fairly straight up but not once you see these paintings. They have been realized from countless hours standing beneath trees, paying attention, listening, thinking, and quietly observing. So it turns out; trees have a lot to teach us about art, resiliency, and life.
Join me as Adam shares all he is learning and discovering in the pursuit of his remarkable tree paintings.
Listen if you are interested in…
- My good friend, Adam Wolpert, and his recent focus on trees [0:05]
- Adam’s path, from college to his present interests and work [2:16]
- How inquiry has played a part of Adam’s practice of art [8:47]
- The way in which Adam’s work uses the power of perspective and space [11:41]
- Using deep observation to create a new series of tree paintings [23:32]
- How Adam’s paintings honor the subjects he’s representing [35:29]
- Contemplation of the universal dimensions of the work Adam creates [40:12]
The magic of art comes from the depth of the moment
One of the many lessons I’ve learned from Adam is that paintings work on different levels. Amazing works have different experiences that depend on where you are in front of them — the perspective from which you view them. From 20 feet away, you might see the overall scope of a painting and immediately understand what it is. But moving closer you find the details, brush strokes, and tones that create the added dimensions that bring a new perspective to life. These are not things you noticed from 20 feet away, and you weren’t meant to.
To me, this is one of the manifestations of the miracle of making art, how “flat,” ordinary things like paints, brushes, and a canvas come together as an amazing thing that not only looks like nature but almost transcends it. But there’s an added dimension still. Adam brings his unique thinking and soul to the paintings he creates. His “Pond Series” is a wonderful example of how the depth of his relationship with the object he’s painting opens itself up to the newness of the moment he’s experiencing as he’s painting, and viewers get to share in that moment.
Adam’s approach includes inquiry, stylistic variation, and honor
There is an amazing aspect to the tree paintings Adam has been working on most recently (November 2021). He’s intentionally not limited himself to one style or approach to painting them. One part of his canvas may display an intricate leaf or branch while another area contains finger-paint-like smudges. He says that an interesting aspect of his decision to create the trees in that way is that it’s a representation of what a tree is really like. It’s not static, it changes, sways, and adapts to the environment around it. Though he’s painted the same tree, the same setting hundreds of times, it’s never the same, which is what fuels his enthusiasm about the work he does.
Adam says it’s a privilege to live near the trees he paints and to have the gift of spending time with them. He’s learned that trees represent the values he cares most about in the way they provide an environment for life and community and how they provide shelter and protection. As he works, he finds himself delighted and almost privileged to be able to witness and truly see the essence of these trees. His art attempts to represent the relationship between himself and the trees he paints.
Lessons we learn from trees
The time Adam has spent on his tree paintings enables him to see them on a deeper level, to notice nature’s lessons on light, conscious architecture, and the stories that are all around us. On our artistic paths, we get to see, in the work that we’re making, the artifacts of our experiences. These experiences are where our path and that of the object we observe and paint intersect. Through the process of creating art, it becomes not just a story of the subject but also of the artist. This is especially so in Adam’s patient, attentive work. These tree paintings offer the viewer an opportunity to learn and deepen our experience of nature through art.
Resources & People Mentioned
- Adam’s mentor/teacher, Ciel Bergman
- Erickson Fine Art in Healdsburg, CA – Adam’s will exhibit there the Spring of 2022
- The SFMOMA Gallery – in San Francisco
Connect with Adam Wolpert
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the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.