I’ve always been intrigued by bonsai and their gnarled, twisted character and have wished that there were more around to paint and print. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Land Trust has any holdings in Japan, but while out hiking along the Snake River, I was struck by the abundance of our unaltered version to the stately bonsai – the exquisite sagebrush.

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Jenny Wolfrom recommended the Spring Creek Ranch easement on Spring Gulch Road for sagebrush observation and she was on point. It was fun to go up a new drainage in the valley and I really enjoyed the Dr. Seussian, spindly aspen trees and meandering trails. I was looking a picturesque sage bush with the elegance of bonsai and didn’t find the exact one but several that were close, so I studied them, did some sketches and created the shape I was envisioning.

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I’m in the process of painting the original and then will do a five color screen print next week. My hope is for an edition of 50. I’m painting the bush without background and treating it as a portrait.

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-Ben Roth