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Art Show: Works of Steinbeck

"Embrace"

by Lisa J. Rough

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Art: Embrace by Artist Lisa J. Rough
Here is another piece inspired by John Steinbeck's second novel, To A God Unknown. It's a very intense story about Joseph, a man who drops his life in Vermont and moves west to California to live out his father's last dying wish. While there, he becomes profoundly connected to the land, and believes a magnificent oak tree holds the spirit of his father. Unfortunately, his ethereal thinking is judged poorly by his brothers (they believe he has become a Pagan), and eventually they cut the tree down, which leads to a spiral of heartbreaking events, ending in Joseph's self-inflicted death...

I was deeply haunted by this moment in the story, when Joseph's wife gives birth to a baby boy, and Joseph longs to place the baby in the branches of the oak tree so that his father can hold his grandson. I chose to create a night sky in the piece to reflect the darkness that surrounded Joseph's connection to the tree, and a sun around the baby to reflect the light that came into his life when his son was born.

This piece was first pyrographed (woodburned) on solid pine, and then painted with acrylics. It was finished off with a protective coat of varnish and wire on the back for hanging.


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