What’s with all the birch trees?

On my first morning after emigrating here I was feeling more than a little jet-lagged and discombobulated. The trees looked and smelled different, the birds sounded strange, the dead critter on the road was unfamiliar. I’ve travelled quite a lot, but this time it was different, this was going to be my new home.

Birch trees were one of the many things that made Canada feel like home. It turns out that they are a northern tree and flourish in the cold winters here and also in my native Scotland and across Scandinavia and Russia. A northern tree for a northern girl.

The process begins with photographing bare birch trunks in the winter. After processing and printing the photos, I use a process that transfers the ink directly into the paint on the canvas. I then paint in the foliage and sky on the prepared canvas.

These paintings reflect on the contrast between the solid, unchanging permanence of the trunks and the ever-changing, fleeting foliage.