Last summer, I spent many weeks hiking and photographing in the Pacific Northwest – discovering anew the beauty of this landscape, which until now had always felt a bit overwhelming.

I was very taken with the majesty of the trees, in particular the old growth stumps and nurse logs. These trees are unending providers of new growth – from tiny mushrooms, to ferns, to new large trees. They are small new landscapes in themselves. I call them "grandmothers", and they have an indescribable presence.

When it came to painting these 'tree portraits', I realized they couldn't just be copied from the photographs I took. Something else entirely was required. I wanted the tree and the person who had a connection to it – two portraits in one painting. More than ever, I felt a need to limit the area of costume to the 1850's, a time when this area was more heavily settled.

The landscape itself became a much larger focus, connecting me with the landscape I live in now, as opposed to the landscape of my youth in Germany. In so many ways, I am feeling much more rooted here than ever before.