Monday, September 8, 2014


Warning-this post includes notes on climate science.
    Cambria artist Bruce Marchese said he was experimenting with an abstract work. Bruce is best known for his rich color and realistic capture of people and scenes so I was intrigued. His vivid abstract piece now hangs at the Art Center. It's a brilliant representation of Eucalyptus bark. I see why he was so captivated.
    These Eucalyptus stand in a grove at San Simeon state park. They have competition in the color department though.
    This living abstract is the peeling bark of a Madrone.
   Hey Bruce, if you have success with the Eucalyptus you might consider the Madrone as your next model!
   This grand citizen of planet earth is one of the largest living things and one of the oldest.
     The only place in the world where you find these 2,000 to 3,000 year Sequoias is in the Sierra Nevada. Jim Robbins of the New York Times has published an article linked here that details the concern of biologists that climate change, especially longer or more frequent droughts, may peril the existence of these masters of the mountains.
    Sequoias, a type of redwood, have no disease or insect enemies and they can survive fire, but they need water, either in rain or snow melt.
    I've pondered if there isn't a message in this for humankind. Could there be something in the bark or essence of the largest and oldest living things on earth that could provide a molecular blessing?  Disease free, survive fire? What other living thing has such a resume?
    There is something else to these living spires. I am never  in a redwood forest or among the Sequoias that I don't sense a palpable spirit. Yes, there are differences on questions of the Divine, spirituality and faith, the degree and nature of climate change, but there can be no dissent on the overwhelming awesomeness of the power and survivability of the big trees. I think of them as the planet's silent sentries. What wisdom do they hold?

 See you down the trail.


  1. Is it any surprise that the worst pollution in the U.S. occurs in the same state that houses the mighty Sequoias? President Reagan stated his truth: trees cause pollution.

    (my tongue planted squarely in cheek)

  2. Thanks Tom for your kind words. As you know, Bruce doesn't usually do abstracts but he's fearless about pushing his personal envelope as an artist. He hasn't seen your blog yet. What a treat. Ann

  3. Nice post, and excellent photos. I do love eucalyptus, trees, the smell. I didn't know until the last couple years that those tall redwoods and sequoias have a water hydration system different from other trees. Because of their height and gravity, the tree cannot pull water up to their level from soil, they have adapted so that the upper reaches of the tree absorb moisture from the upper branches and needles.

  4. Thank you for your kind comments. I fell in love with those great colors and as always i found so much motion to paint . Again , thank you ,Bruce

  5. I don't think I've ever felt more peaceful or spiritual than when standing in a grove of Giant Sequoias. The eucalyptus trees are also beautiful. If I'm not mistaken they aren't native to California but were brought over from Australia in the early 1900s to create fast-growing windbreakers. Do you know anything about this?

  6. Stephen,
    You are correct. The non-native trees were planted not only for windbreaks, but some were planted to become rail timber, but were not suitable. They are full of oil and for that reason can be hazardous in fire. Some on the central coast would like to eliminate them, but they also have fans. A grove of eucalyptus was recently cleared on public land in Cambria and there is a loud hue and cry ensuing. There is an absolutely stunning grove along the road leading into Montana D'Oro state park.