Jill Osgood

“Something will always happen, but it is very rarely what you expect.”

– Mark Dion

The Gorham Forest is comprised of 13 acres owned by the University that abuts an additional 27 acres of private land made available to the public by the owner. Declared a State Forest, the old growth pines, hemlock, and beech are criss-crossed with trails ideal for wandering. For the past two years I have been walking these trails and recording my observations. All of my work as a student at USM has been inspired and shaped by my time walking in these woods.

In January I was approached with the opportunity to create a permanent installation in one of the small study rooms located in the library here on the Gorham campus. I accepted the challenge with the idea of somehow interpreting my observations of the natural ecology of the woods.

As I began thinking about the project and creating preliminary sketches, it occurred to me that my methodology for making a painting is very much like my walks in the woods. While on one day I may enter the forest with the goal of seeing a pileated woodpecker, the bird is nowhere to be found. Instead I have witnessed a garter snake sunning itself amongst the oak leaves. In my work I hope to convey the wonder and mystery of the woods, and share a bit of my love for this special place.