Anna Vartiainen – Forest Song

This exhibition is an ode to the forest.

On a winter’s walk through a grey and brown wood, with the cold wind making the branches clatter, I noticed how the hazel catkins looked like golden musical notes against the bare trees.

With this image stuck in my mind, I returned time and time again to sketching and studying trees and forests, and started building a collection of screen prints dedicated to the theme.

Since spending my childhood summers in a forest cabin in the southern Finnish archipelago, the woods have played a huge part in my life. In my imagination, the trees had their own characters and I often drew them as part-animal. The forest can be both comforting and menacing, uplifting and bewildering. It’s no wonder so many folk tales are set in them!

This is the first time I have dedicated a whole series to trees, and it is still very much a work in progress, as there are infinite possibilities to explore. The atmosphere of each piece varies according to the colours and textures, the time of year, and the unforeseen surprises of hand-printing. In essence the work celebrates how the forest makes us feel.

Throughout the week you can find me working in the little gallery, decorating the window, and drawing new work. Please do drop by and say hello!