Fire Compartment 50

Sewanee, Tennessee
March 20, 2024
Oil on canvas
8 x 11 in. (20.3 x 27.9 cm)

Private collection

Since I happened to have my PPE and painting box while visiting the University of the South to give an exhibit talk, I was able to act on an invitation from the University’s Domain Manager to observe a prescribed fire being conducted that day on the edge of the Cumberland Plateau. The purpose of the burn was to maintain the fire adapted nature of the oak dominated woodland in that section of the Domain (compartment 50), and to promote the shortleaf pine stands being restored there. It was also a good learning opportunity for the several students working the fire. I couldn’t stay long since I had to prepare for my talk, but I had time to do one painting that featured the atmospherically transformative effect of a slow moving backing fire contrasted against the sharp shadows and warm leaf litter of early spring.