Backbone Forest

Little St. Simons Island, Georgia
March 2012
Oil on canvas
28 x 24 in. (71.1 x 61 cm)

Collection of Little St. Simons Island

“Backbone” is an appropriate name for the long, high remnant dune ridge at the heart of the oldest part of Little St. Simons. A few thousand years ago, when the island was brand new, only sea oats would have obstructed the view from here to the wide-open Atlantic Ocean. As the island grew eastward, the dunes became further removed from the shoreline, allowing them to be colonized first by shrubs such as wax myrtle, later by palmettos and pines, and eventually by this shady forest of live oaks.

I always find these ancient woods enchanting, day or night, summer or winter, but I am particularly drawn to their shady groves on clear days when the deep blue light of the sky seems to bend around every leaf and twig and settle into the forest shadows below. Then the colors are most vivid and the sunlight all the warmer for its contrast with the blue from above. In Backbone Forest, I explored those blue-sky conditions from a perspective that conveys the height of the dune ridge.

Based on photos from February 2012, I finished this painting in the studio the following April. Backbone Forest now hangs in LSSI’s Helen House, room 3.

The viewpoint in the painting can be reached via Backbone Trail. (Google Maps: 31.277880, -81.299770).

Exhibition History

Publication History