The Lake
John W Wood

A new body of work inspired by weeks of solitude in late summer of 2015 within the Morris Graves Foundation compound. The studio looks out over a five-acre lake surrounded by almost 400 acres of secluded Northern California virgin conifer forest.



This morning the fog and mist settled in on the lake and all the views disappeared; no trees, no north end, no peninsula or peninsula house. There is only the beautiful silver-gray and deep, deep quiet. The color of the lake goes from deep green-almost black, to light yellow and the celadon green of the duckweed. In the mist of early morning it becomes a wonderful silver-lavender.


Now the sun has come out for the first time since I arrived here, blue skies with only slight wisps of clouds. The lake has become almost iridescent blue, the blue of the sky reflected in the highlights of the lake's ripples. This evening the lake has become almost black again, but at the far northern reaches there is still the soft green of the duckweed and algae massed there and a small stripe of incredibly bright yellow-white. And now the lake has gone completely still and soft with reflections.


It is difficult to be surrounded by so much nature and to not respond in traditional ways, traditional
landscape drawings.


Faced with the constant changes of the water before me, I am going to do a series of colored squares. Not a terribly new idea but this does tend to describe the lake. The squares just keep growing and changing on the wall with no attempts at conscious editing, nor thoughts about what will happen or how it would all come together-I just know that somehow it will all make sense.


it is nice to see the lake colors on the wall. It's almost like meditating without meditating. It is so quiet here that sometimes it is hard to not get overwhelmed by the silence, by the solitude. When I get lost, I can always make another colored square!


Sometimes it feels so empty here, so uneventful, but if I just sit here everything changes; a brilliant yellow leaf suddenly falls in front of me, a flash of blue as a bird flies by. A shadow, a breeze, changing ripples, changing patterns. It never stops, never holds still, is never nothing.


Here it is, the last morning. The silver dome had returned just as it was when I arrived. The lake is covered in celadon, two ducks seem to be frozen in the snowy covering of duckweed, meditating on life just as I am doing. The sun is slanting through the soft mist that is trailing through the trees--it is just incredible. I will miss the serenity!