I am interested in traditional and historical media — particularly, woodcuts, wood-engravings and egg tempera — used in a contemporary manner.

Working from close observation, and occasionally referring to my own photographs, I conceptually reduce realistic nature to calligraphic or glyph-like notations. A kind of erasure takes place as the visual abundance I see around me is distilled into the essence of the place. Other senses, such as sound and touch often inform the visual.

It has been said that abstraction brings one closer to physical structures within nature itself. My own development of an analytical connection between abstraction and realism began when I immersed myself in the character of Southern California’s estuaries … their dry twigs and open spaces. When I moved to Northern California, the “mundane spectacle” became hills, trees, fog, the sound of the wind slipping over the top of the rolling fog and through the trees. The trees themselves have been an important source of inspiration.

I am also curious about the reasons behind the structures of nature. Satellite photographs of ocean currents and weather patterns, images seen through new technology, enhance the search for new ways of seeing.

A challenge for me has been to capture the powerful ephemeral forms of fog and water in the hard-edged medium of wood. I’ve found that the medium itself determines much of the outcome.


Transitionsfrom the Donna Westerman retrospective at Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion, 2009