In the height of its uncultivated wilderness, the forests of Oregon were a dark place. They were covered in a canopy of leaves and branches so thick that you go days without seeing the sun. It is a scene that – thanks to legendary tales of the forest’s darkness and science sending early European into madness – has developed cloaked, eeriness of a ghost story.
However, not for Kerri Blackman.
Kerri Blackman, who currently lives in Oregon City, longs to see the forests of that time and to become lost in a deep, green silence. Instead, Kerri, an abstract expressionist, walks through the forests of today where she finds her inspiration and influence from nature and its changes.
“I am influenced by nature,” she says. “But, not in its stable forms, like ‘plant’ or ‘ocean.’ I am inspired by the forces that move through these things and change them, like wind, rushing rivers, sunlight and even birds.”
She has never had car; She walks nearly everywhere she goes, rain or shine. She observes the mood that nature casts upon the landscape, collecting inspiration for the moods of her paintings.
“Somedays it's only me outside with the crows. I love those kinds of days, when the wind is roaring through the tall pines and cedars, and the crows are playing in the wind and I just watch,” says Kerri.
The result of hours of watching are her expressive abstract artwork that combine emotional intuition, a natural balance in shape, and a controlled color palette (often of golds and blues). Though her style lacks representation, the shapes and dynamic lines are tightly connected to nature and its changes.
Kerri has ten children. Each one of her children expresses creativity in one way or another. One cooks. One writes poetry. All draw.
“Each of my kids has their own creative interests and they kind of weave through the whole of family life. We all work on our projects and exchange ideas throughout the day,” says Kerri.