In Trees, I Sing

Shawn Skabelund, artist:

For the past twenty years, the forest has become my studio, not as subject matter to draw or paint, but for discovery, observation and the collection of the materials that are the basis of my art. Each spring, I have knelt under the pines collecting the peeled twigs that Abert squirrels gnaw on and then drop as litter onto the forest floor below. I like to believe that the trees I work under remember who I am. I like to believe that they remember me as I enter their home, arms embracing acceptance to come listen and learn.

More recently, as I have begun collecting materials in burnt forests, my aesthetic has changed. I now find such forests to be more beautiful than the dark dense forests of monotonous green. Fire creates openings to see the contours of topography, of form and horizon, the hollowed-ground of what once stood. There is a beauty to the death and eventual resurrection to come.

In Trees, I Sing was exhibited at the Tree-Ring Lab from January-May 2020.

For more information about Shawn's work, please visit