Valerie Claff
My paintings are imagined, archetypal forests, inspired by the land where I live, and the traditional myths and stories rooted in the woodlands. They are journeys into the primeval forest where the numinous spirit of place is encountered.

I live in a clearing in a hemlock forest in the foothills of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. Hemlocks were one of the first species of trees to evolve on the earth, and seem to hold an ancient presence. Their deep shade inhibits undergrowth and provides a moist environment where mosses, ferns and amphibians thrive. Bear, moose, coywolf, fox, bobcat, fisher, deer and many other creatures live here. The wild is tangible as human made sounds are few. Wandering here, the old stories and myths of my Celtic and Northern European ancestors seem to come alive in the misty glades and through my frequent encounters with the woodland creatures. My work is an attempt to capture the mysterious spirit of the forest and to shape a terrain where the mythic imagination comes alive.

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