In 2009, after hanging a show that included several Sequoia paintings, in the Exeter Courthouse Gallery, my friend Holly and I went to Sequoia and camped and painted for a week. That was a defining moment. I fell in love with the Sequoias.
I discovered that there where many groves within an easy driving distance from my home in Porterville and that I could easily take a day trip to any of them. I started visiting groves, some with easy access and some that I should not have visited alone. Check out my reviews of several Easy Sequoia Trails on the blog page of my website at www.joycollier.com.
The second defining moment was when my friend Linda Lemons from Burford Frames in Porterville said “You know Joy, I see paintings of the trunks of the trees but not the whole tree” and the 6 foot tall canvas was born. This changed everything. I painted 2′ x 6′ trees. I showed them at “1st Saturday in Three Rivers” in front of the Gateway & Buckeye Lodges. They were a hit.
Over the last few years with fire after fire in the Sierras, I have realized how fragile this environment is and I’d like to do what I can to create awareness and supply resources for the protection of these giants found nowhere else on earth.
10% of all sales will be donated to the non-profit foundation for the park that the image was created in. Take a drive and hug a giant sequoia, today.
After my “California’s Giant Sequoias, Found Nowhere Else on Earth” show ended, I had a color crisis in my life and this horizon gave me the variety I needed. The beetle damage in the California sierras, while sad, is very rich and colorful. I thought of naming it “Before the Fires” but I didn’t want to scare you off. California’s high sierras will never look the same again.
General Grant Tree Trail is the most popular trail in Kings Canyon National Park. It has a large looping trail that allows you to view the giant trees from many angles.
EASY Sequoia Trail – This trail has a nice paved path that is easy walking and not much of an elevation change, which causes a person to get out of breath. It includes places to rest and railings. The parking area includes a nice visitor store, restrooms and a restaurant.
The General Grant Tree Trail highlights Our Nation’s Christmas Tree.
The General Grant tree is the third largest tree in the world and the largest giant sequoia in the General Grant Grove section of Kings Canyon National Park in California.
The tree was named in 1867 after Ulysses S. Grant, Union Army general and the 18th President of the United States (1869-877).
President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed it the “Nation’s Christmas Tree” on April 28, 1926.
Due in large part to its huge base, the General Grant tree was thought to be the largest tree in the world prior to 1931, when the first precise measurements indicated that the General Sherman was slightly larger.
On March 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the tree a “National Shrine”, a memorial to those who died in war. It is the only living object to be so declared.
This trail includes many interesting trees including the fallen Michigan Tree.
Hazelwood Nature Trail is less developed than the Round Meadow Trail and has a unique more rustic feel. No bathrooms, no benches and only a dirt path, more of that back-country feel but not too remote or strenuous. The entrance is directly across the Generals Highway from The Big Trees Trail and down a hillside path from the Giant Forest Museum.
Hazelwood has it’s own unique character, defined by a fire that swept up the little valley and has marked the Sequoias and cleared the path for many younger trees and a small meadow. If you visit in the early spring, this trail is lush with dogwoods blooming.
EASY Sequoia Trail – This trail is an easy walk of an hour or so.
I fell in love with a completely burned out giant with its rich deep colors of reds, oranges, golds and blues, where the fire burned extra hot. This giant reminds me of peering through a cathedral window with the stained glass greens of the forest behind.
I didn’t realize that this was the area that Holly and I had painted in 2009. Many of the old landmarks have changed with the restoration project. When I got home and was going through my photos I was astounded to find that I had painted this very tree, not just once but several times before but from a very different angle. I also had painted the small meadow and the dogwoods against a Giant Sequoia.
Round Meadow is delightful lush meadow filled with wild grasses and wild flowers, surrounded by Giant Sequoias, fir, pine and cedar trees, visited by California black bear and deer, with fallen tree roots that provide the perfect environment for many marmot families. If you sit quietly on one of the many redwood benches the parks service has provided along the level paved path you will probably hear them thunder along the fallen logs that they use as highways before you ever see them. They are well camouflaged and a delight to watch.
Round Meadow provides a rich diversity of fauna & flora and it has gone through a miraculous transformation since the parks department has been restoring it. You would never know that there used to be 100 or so buildings surrounding the meadow. Learn more about the “Giant Forest Restoration” .
EASY Sequoia Trail – This trail is an easy walk from the Giant Forest Museum where you can park your car or get dropped off by the park shuttle, but if you are more physically challenged there is a second small handicapped parking area just at the entrance to the trail. It is the only trail that has a restroom and benches to rest on all the way around the meadow, so if you have small children or walking is a challenge or just need to rest along the way, try this trail.
Big Trees Trail is by far one of my favorite trails.
While showing my artwork at the Redbud Festival in Three Rivers, CA. this year I meet the director and some of the staff of the Sequoia Parks Conservancy . They are the Non-Profit Partner to the National Parks Service in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Actually, I have been looking for this organization so that I can make donations to help the parks when I sell a painting or print and a miraculous thing happened, they directed me towards a brand new website called “Paint the Parks” . As an artist of the parks, I can show my parks related artwork and donate 10% of every sale to the non-profit foundation associated with the park, celebrating the parks and helping to conserve them, what a great mix.
I thought that it was just time to paint this the largest and most popular Giant Sequoia for an all Sequoia Show at Arts Visalia in May 2017, “California’s Giant Sequoias – No Where Else on Earth”. more to come….
In the process of producing a large body of Giant Sequoia works. This is how I start. Nothing fancy. I usually have a collection of paintings at different stages going on at once, then if I get stuck or bored or looking for another element to include, I can focus on something else and let my subconscious find a solution.