The seasons move forward, pause, then cycle back.
In March 2020, when life went on "pause," I began a monthly series of watercolor paintings of the plants in my small city garden to keep track of time and stay present to the changes in the world around me. I painted mostly prairie and woodland plants that have long thrived in Mni Sóta Makọce (Minnesota), the unceded homeland of the Dakotah. Witnessing and painting the full life cycle of these plants over the course of the year gave me a new understanding of seasonal time and made me question much of what I thought I knew about this place. For instance, I previously believed that everything "died back" in winter, but when I looked closely over time I realized the plants kept changing. Some plants, like Yarrow and Mullein, even went on living, as green as ever beneath the snow. The resilience of these plants is remarkable and their green leaves in January made me aware of how much I have to learn about the ecological history of my own backyard. Once I completed the full year of watercolors in April 2021, I photographed and printed the images, then cut-up the prints and re-photographed the fragments with the same plants pictured in the paintings. I often work this way as an artist: doubling back on a project when the time seems right, or the seasons change, or I want to return to a particular way of making and seeing. I learned from the plants I painted that it is impossible to decipher the future of this place, without a full understanding of the present moment and the past, so I will keep doubling back to slowly make visible what is here.