Painting: Oil on Canvas.
The California palm and I are both native to the City of Los Angeles, California. The towering palms are iconic of Southern California, and it is virtually impossible to imagine Hollywood without them. But my oil painting explores a different side of the ubiquitous palm. Painted on canvas that was stretched over wood panel, "Burning Palm" speaks of the natural wildness not necessarily associated with a megalopolis like Los Angeles.
Ever October fire season begins in Southern California; driven by Santa Ana windstorms, powerful wildfires consume acres of the hillside and mountain brush that surround the city. Flaming palm trees are not an unusual sight; I have seen them myself during wildfire season. It is a reminder that Los Angeles, a city perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, is still very much a wild place controlled by Mother Nature. But my story of the California palm does not end with the savage beauty of the natural world.
In April of 1992 I witnessed an apocalyptic spectacle; thousands of rioters setting palm trees ablaze at twilight along the Hollywood Freeway during the Rodney King riots. I was stunned at how fiercely the dry palms burned, showering sparks and embers like giant Roman Candles. I never forgot that spectacle, and ever since I have been trying to capture that vision in paint.
"Burning Palm" is a meditation on the all-powerful forces of nature, but also a contemplation on the folly of humankind; it is a visual metaphor for the wars and violence that plague humanity.
"Burning Palm" does not require framing. The canvas is stretched over solid wood stretcher bars that are two inches in width; the outer edges of the canvas covered stretcher bars are painted mat black. When the painting is hung and viewed from the side, its black edges give a finished, professional look.
Keywords: oil painting, palm tree, Los Angeles, landscape, nature