Lucinda Parker ’66 perched on ladder in studio next to A Glade of Many Ages, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 9’10” x 18’10,” commissioned for the University of Oregon through the Oregon Arts Commission. Photo by Jim Lommansson.
Artist Lucinda Parker ’66, whose paintings and glasswork bring vibrancy, movement, and color to the spaces they inhabit, recently completed a giant canvas, A Glade of Many Ages, for permanent installation at the University of Oregon. Measuring over 9 feet by 18 feet, the painting depicts the raw materials of forest and stream. Sunlight breaks powerfully through the clouds and forest canopy in obelisk shafts, brazing fir branches as it makes its way down to the forest floor, where it transforms debris into nourishing humus.
Prominent sunlight was absolutely essential to the work—Lucinda knows Eugene’s winter gray all too well from her years of teaching at the university. She created six distinct trees in the painting: a lone, white vertical snag with a long lightning scar; a small, vigorous, solid green conifer; a central adolescent fir tree dancing in midspace; a powerful foreground trunk rising from the bottom up in a gentle curve; a companion trunk in gray, set back behind a diagonal sunbeam; and a bisected conifer with dark green zigzag foliage. The trees evoke the diversity of the forest, she says, and likewise symbolize the healthy variety of ages in a university community, “where even silvery old snags contribute to the culture of education.”
The text around the painting’s perimeter—“An old growth Douglas fir about 200 feet tall has some 65 million photosynthesizing needles”—is done in lettering influenced by her adviser and teacher Lloyd Reynolds [English and art 1929–69]. To prepare for the work, Lucinda buried herself in books, including Cascade-Olympic Natural History by Daniel Mathews ’70; Eating the Sun by Oliver Morton; and Traveler in a Vanished Landscape by William Morwood. “I feel as if I have painted the equivalent of a novel,” she says. Lucinda teaches at Pacific Northwest College of Art and is married to master distiller Steve McCarthy ’66.