Treelines and Skylines by Sue Cag
Treelines and Skylines by Sue Cag

Treelines and Skylines
by Sue Cag of Folkstar

Treelines and Skylines represents the dichotomy of “nature” vs human fabrication. On the left side of the canvas stands an enormous vibrant ancient tree with lush forest behind it. This venerable tree represents original forests and authentic life. It was inspired by considerable time spent in the small pockets of true forest that remain out west: the sequoias, redwoods, douglas firs, spruce, and cedars. There is movement, light, and texture in the complex bark and trunk, including the fire scar.

On the right side stand dull skyscrapers, asphalt, and a coal plant, all rising from a dead ancient stump. Symbolic of our most populous city, the Empire State Building represents the ultimate skyline, the human “empire.” The Transamerica Pyramid represents the west where logging continues and where the coast redwoods were cleared in order to build San Francisco. A road leads into the walled, dreary city where a smokestack pollutes the air and represents what’s necessary to run such a place.

The center of the painting shows man’s wanton destruction in the form of a vast clear-cut. Walking into it is like walking into an area that has been bombed; it radiates the stillness and loss of a cemetery with the stumps left behind like tombstones. In the distance there is a thin treeline of what’s left – a treeline left open to wind and storm, the little bit that could possibly be saved.

Snow-capped mountains stand above the scene, the highest points, next to a mountain top that’s been “removed” for mining. This painting illustrates how humans have destroyed and continue to destroy our world. It’s obvious after discovering just how much ancient forest has been lost forever, but it’s also evident in everything we do right now, every choice we make, and all the things we prefer to value. We’re living under the illusion of power and we fill our lives with misinformation, distraction, and clutter that just leaves us empty. We’ve created a separation between us and “nature” where no such disconnect actually exists.

If you would like to know more about this painting or if you would like to use this image, please contact Folkstar through the About > Contact link above. Prints are also available in our store.

Folkstar with a Giant Sequoia
The sequoia in the painting was inspired by this sequoia and many others seen while spending months in the forest. These are intensely beautiful, stoic trees and it’s hard to grasp how large, how old, and how magnificent they are. The trees behind the sequoia were inspired by trees in Washington state.

Folkstar with Sequoia Stump
Some of the stumps in the painting were modeled after this huge sequoia stump in Kings Canyon National Park. In a short time, people have reduced our ancient forests to a mere 4% of what they once were. Cutting down 96% of our original forests is insane. The clearcut in the painting was inspired by those readily seen throughout the pacific northwest.