Redwood Trees

Armstrong Woods, California

Every December I visit my family in California. My brother’s family and mine travel to Armstrong Woods in Guerneville. The trees tower over us with their majestic height. My husband’s favorite thing to do is look up at the canopy above him. I love to watch how fascinated he is by the tall trees. I also enjoy the bark of the trees and marvel at the intricate placement of the moss. 

On our last trip, I was captivated by the mushrooms and the undergrowth of the forest floor. My eye is drawn to details and my mind wanders with lines and connections I see throughout the forest. I take many photographs and enjoy my time in this place. I do not bring a sketchbook so I use pictures for my reference materials.

When I return home, I look for photos that catch my eye and remind me of my experience among the redwoods. I try to recreate the emotions I felt walking beneath the trees as well as walking in the wonderland the forest created. I recently did a series called California Redwoods 1 and 2 where I focused on different aspects of Armstrong Woods. I chose to paint the base of the trees, mushrooms, and images I saw in the trunks in series 1. In series 2, I focused on looking up at the canopy along with the base of the forest floor. Painting Number 7 from series 2 is very special to me. I remembered hearing many noises from the forest as I painted this Tiny Painting.


This is one of my favorite places to visit because I get to watch everyone enjoy the hike. My brother’s children play and we talk about faces we see in the trees. They truly enjoy every moment in this park. Their parents take them here often and when we visit they get very excited. I am grateful for this State Park in California.

This hike inspired two series of paintings, which total 20 pieces of art, each measuring 4 x 6 inches. I love painting a variety of sizes for everyone’s enjoyment. Creating the tiny painting series has been quite enjoyable. I love that I can take these small paintings with me wherever I travel.

-Karen Hilliard