imageWhile growing up in a rural mid-western town, I preferred to spend my time in the fields and woods. Captured by the tones and textures of what I saw there, I would draw the trees and cornfields of my home. I would bring back collections of bark, corn husk and bones to reference and apply to my creations.

In 2004, I received a degree in fine art from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Upon graduating, I was eager to continue my explorations. My journey led me westward to a place where I could paint freely without interruptions. Here in Montana, I find again, paths to the ever present tones and textures of the natural palette. I memorize what I see and make drawings and paintings as I explore the vast wilderness.

Artist Statement

Powerful forces and cycles of nature have helped to shape and recreate the vast features of the land. Although nature’s forces can be devastating, time reveals the Earth’s ability to heal and transform itself, leaving behind a new surrounding that lives on.

The fires of Montana have opened up passages to what once was and what will be again—the remains of burned trees, scattered and hidden among the forest, provide signs of the past. Hill sides of blackened trees nurture and guard thousands of younger trees. The forest is recreating itself into a much healthier one. Old trees that have lived long lives finally get to rest in peace. They replenish the land with new seeds and fertilize the soil beneath them.

Fire has a very beautiful and intriguing life of its own. The intense flames seem to be a timeless gesture rolling across the horizon. When ash and smoke clear, new vistas welcome a breath of fresh air and signify new beginnings.

I find spontaneity and freedom in the power of nature, which inspires me in the creation of my work. I experience painting the way I do the landscape. It holds the same quietness the same search. Through the layering of paint and materials, I begin to find continuity with what I’ve discovered in nature. I scrape and burn into the surface. The materials I use (moss, charcoal, pine needles, and other organic materials) signify the surroundings from where they have been taken, allowing me to connect more directly with nature. I begin a new journey through each painting. As I paint, memories rush through me. Most of the time, I am searching for answers I can only come so close to understanding. I find something indescribable in nature that is never made completely clear in the form of language, which creates my need to paint.

Like the seasons, time transforms the forest and leaves only remnants of what once was, and truth remains.

—Dana Berardinis