Showcasing iconic woodland types from the Highlands that have clung on to inaccessible topographic margins. A feast of colour, pattern, texture, botanical detail and atmospheric places.

Arboreal Realms showcases the character of some of the most iconic woodland types in Highland, with surviving remnants often clinging to inaccessible topographic margins. From 2 years’ work, over 60 compositions are a distillation of wooded places, pattern, colour, textures, seasons and atmospheres at both the macro and micro scale ranging from realistic portrayals to more stylised abstractions in both oil and acrylic. The allure, shelter, scale and detail of woodland is endlessly rekindled at the turn of each season; whether clad in leaf or laid bare, trees emanate a strong and often distinctive localised Highland identity. Broadly two differing Arboreal Realms are explored:

• Pine, Birch and Juniper woods known as Caledonian Pine Forest (plus plantations) over peaty acidic soils with heather, bilberry, grass and sometimes localised bog underneath

• Oak, Birch and Hazel woods over deeper brown earths with bracken or grassland and spring vernal flora underneath. There are also a few forays into damper woods with more base loving plants.

With the high rainfall that the west coast, montane and inland gorge topographies receive, rich assemblages of lichens, mosses and ferns grow on the trunks, ground and rocks of these woodlands, forming what have poignantly recently been renamed part of Britain’s Lost Rain Forests. Many remnant native woodlands have struggled to regenerate since deer, sheep and rhododendron replaced people managing woods locally. Fortunately the hard work of rewilding and reforestation initiatives offer a more optimistic future for native woodlands across Scotland; this exhibition aims to raise interest and awareness.

I want these woodland-themed paintings to make the viewer feel immersed in arboreal realms; to be in awe of places where trees, which span several human generations are allowed to colonise and regenerate, to grow and age and to rest as dead wood that supports other life. Beneath vast aged protective tree canopies is a wealth of intricate detail, connectivity and hidden history that observing closely can heighten senses, helping one to feel grounded and refreshed. I hope paintings convey my reverence for the intricacies and inter-dependencies of nature and its tenacity to cling on, adapt and thrive alongside human influence. The surety of turning seasons is hopeful and inspires me. Woodland and coast are my go to sanctuaries; immersion in the interconnections of systems seemingly beyond human control, and painting them lifts me. I hope the viewer may feel similar respite and resonance.

In 2023 my work received a commendation at the Scottish Fine Art Awards and was also shortlisted for the Highland Art Prize. This year, I am concentrating on two solo exhibitions and building collaborations linked to my arboreal artwork. – Liz Green

Born in 1964, I am a self-taught contemporary landscape painter working in oils, acrylics and mixed media. I have lived in Inverness since 2003, painted part time since 2010 and fulltime since January 2023 when I moved into a shared studio space at Wasps Inverness Creative Academy. As a person that loves being outdoors I paint the places where I have felt most keenly alive, most inspired, fulfilled and moved. I try to capture that mood of being exposed and immersed in a landscape with all the thoughts and feelings that provokes. Working in the studio based on field sketches, photographs, imagination and process-led experimentation my paintings include a mixture of realistic detail and stylised abstraction, often doing several versions of the same composition increasingly simplified and stylised. As well as meaning, I get excited by pattern, texture, form and my painting style is constantly evolving. My previous life strongly informs my art. With a degree in botany and a career as a plant ecologist (nee E.A.Cooper) working with the Conservation Agencies and NGOs I have a deep understanding of semi-natural ecosystems. Working as an environmental policy campaigner gave me an acute awareness of the value and jeopardy of semi-natural habitats. Doing garden design work to suit places and people, then working at Culloden Academy embedded my interest in visual communication and narrative. It was worsening arthritis that propelled me to start painting more back in 2010. I have not looked back and have a huge amount in my head that I still want to explore with paint.

Liz Green’s website / Liz Green’s Instagram


Event Details

Date: May 17 - June 30
Time: Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm and Sat 10am-3pm

Inverness Creative Academy
Midmills Building
Stephen's Street

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