Brother Pine

By C.J. Lori | August 25, 2020

In late March, I went for a long walk at the Mass Audubon Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick. Throughout the winter, I had found myself particularly focused on the only green growth to behold, the pines. I had never been so visually arrested by them in the past, and looking back, perhaps I had taken them for granted. But not now. I found myself rather fixated on observing their shapes, their sweeping clusters of needles, and the endless broken points where branches had once flourished. So much history in each tree.

In Broadmoor, I came upon this one enormous tree and was overwhelmed with its presence. I stood very close to it as it towered like a sentinel in a cathedral of pines. Despite all the other trees around it, it seemed so alone. Back in the studio, it took much longer than I had anticipated to complete “Soliloquy.” Endless branches, needles and bark to recapture.


“Soliloquy,” oil on canvas, 30″ x 24″ (2020)

I will never forget my flood of emotions during my encounter with that pine. I seemed to be looking into a mirror of our isolation.

Copyright © 2020 C.J. Lori
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  1. Philip Gerstein on September 5, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    Beautiful, CJ!.. you really captured a remarkable ‘character’ here!
    Pines are indeed something special… and coming from a northern country, with so much winter, evergreens are a kind of a lifeline between the greener seasons. The smell of the pine grove, skiing over a carpet of needles — these are some of my earlier memories.
    Still, as you say, I was taking pines for granted, not paying closer attention. For me, it took a deep study and appreciation of ancient Chinese art to actually SEE the pines — the arrangement of needles pointing slightly upward, the remarkable pattern of the bark, rough and lacy at the same time… . In Chinese painting, pine is one of the symbols of immortality — or at least a long life! >>PHILIP<<

    • C.J. Lori on September 5, 2020 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks for your comments, Philip, and it is heartening to know about the pine in Chinese paintings, and your own personal connection to them. I think here in New England, we tend to favor trees that turn color in Autumn. But I have come to appreciate the shapes and movement of pines more and more every year. Time spent on Cape Cod would make anyone smile at the windblown and twisty scrub pines, they are the ones I first fell in love with.

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