Graveyard Fields by Patricia Raible

Graveyard Fields, 36" x 48" x 3", Mixed media collage painting on deep wood panel

Graveyard Fields, 36" x 48" x 3", Mixed media collage painting on deep wood panel

This new painting was inspired by a hike in late August along a trail called Graveyard Field in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a flat mountain valley just off the parkway surrounded by mountains like Black Balsam Knob, Tennent Mountain, and Sam Knob. The day we hiked the goldenrod was already evident as were the wild blueberries and many people left carrying overflowing hats, pails, and milk jugs.

It was an easy hike except for the climb to the falls, but I was most fascinated by the boardwalks that keep the trail elevated in areas that tend to flood—and the flatness even though you are at 5,000 feet elevation. The Park Service history says the name may have come from a windstorm fell that downed hundreds of trees or extensive logging in the early 1900’s. Either way the stumps eventually resembled moss-covered graves. Later fires devastated the entire valley, apparently heating the soil enough to sterilize it so that plants had difficulty growing. Now some trees, shrubs, and grasslands are slowly thriving.

It is a ghostly landscape, but an enriching one as well. Like most of my trips into the woods I leave feeling very large, yet very insignificant at the same time—and very much at peace.

 

 

When Words Fail by Patricia Raible

When Words Fail, 30" x 20", Mixed media on deep wood panel

When Words Fail, 30" x 20", Mixed media with collage and charcoal pencil on deep wood panel

Despite my current distrust of words, I still find them so incredibly important and so beautiful. I have always loved words, how they sound, how they look on a page, the different connotations, the emotions behind them. I can never seem to leave them out of my paintings. And as Elizabeth Alexanders says in her poem, Praise Song for the Day, "We encounter each other in words."