David Paul Bacharach

Metalsmith

The Natural World

It’s spring and in the woodland west of my home I’m visiting the gnarled oak stump where the bloodroot blooms. Ephemeral blossoms are scattered around this monument to the once-commanding tree. Variable in leaf and flower, soft- white and delicate, they forcibly push aside the leaf litter to emerge each April.

Today, sunlight slants across the ruddy woodland floor. Five silver-white blooms, each balanced on a long slender neck, appear to be held upright by a collar of sapphire leaf. In a few weeks nothing but the Peter Pan collar of leaf will remain. The flowers, having quickly faded, will be mingling with last autumn’s oak and poplar litter.

The yearly phenomenon that attracts me doesn’t easily translate to paint and paper. But the desire to preserve this ephemeral event invariably results in countless photographs, sketches and notes that at the moment of their recording seem meaningful. Stored on my desk and taped to the studio walls, the images, under the weight of time, compress into a few ideas.

Eventually some of the ideas become paintings: ideas mixed with polychrome, patina and pastel; applied to panels of plaited recycled copper, sheets of oxidized steel or raw unprimed wood.

My paintings are never truly finished. I’m inclined to work, rework, dissect and collage until the idea reaches a comfortable equilibrium. A good time to step back, think, and enjoy what began as a feeling in the woodland many months earlier.


close up view

Clethra Autumn

24” x 24” x 2” private collection