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The Secret Within
16 x 22

Hundreds of millions of years ago, mountain ranges over much of Canada were eroded slowly by wind, rain and ice, their bases heaving upwards and weathering smooth. This vast expanse of exposed Precambrian rock, known as the Canadian Shield, is the earth's largest of its kind, and is characterized by the shallow layer of soil that covers it. Trees attempting to lay down roots are met with huge shield boulders at every angle, causing a twisted mass of exposed roots to cling to the rocks as they search for soil. This was the driving inspiration for this artwork.

 After struggling to come up with a composition, one night I had a dream about a cedar tree forming roots over a cave of rock, very similar to what you see depicted. The title of the piece reflects this dream and also two other aspects of the work. The eye is drawn around the roots and rock of the artwork but ultimately lands on the other "secret within". An Eastern wolf (Canis lupus lycaon), unique to Algonquin, is warily watching from within its den. 

Other secrets within the work itself include the addition of a brown creeper (Certhia familiaris) and a salt and pepper looper moth (Syngrapha rectangula). Brown creepers are year round residents of the shield, and are known for ascending trees spirally from their base in search of bark insects. The salt and pepper looper is also common throughout much of the shield, conifers providing host trees for their larvae.