Charles Prutting: The Discovery Park Series
November 1st-Dececember 31st
Opening Reception November 12th
“Nature’s lessons could be learned by bringing the soul to her, and letting it behold itself as in a mirror; the teaching could be passed on to others by means of art –
mainly the art of landscape painting.”
– Arthur Wesley Dow, 1920
“This where they walked and swam, hunted, dance and sang.”
– R.E.M., 1986
What began as a study and exercise in painting, developed into a love and wonder of a unique place. A love of attempting to capture this beauty, this given moment in this place. A wonder of the past times, of those previous generations who engaged this place. And though each generation tries to put its imprint on the place, the land endures our follies. The land leaves its imprint on us.
As I became educated of the place I was exploring and experiencing, my infatuation with it grew. The physical beauty that was before me had witnessed, as all places have, a storied history both “recorded” and unrecorded. The cliffs of the Magnolia Bluff expose a record of the Ice Age and an archaeological history of 25,000 years. How many souls have trekked along these shores, navigated these woods? How many people have fallen in love, or suffered loss, while in this place? How many hold a cherished memory that occurred here?
As for the recent “recorded” history, it too had me intrigued. In 1857, the “Magnolia Bluff” was misnamed during a U.S. Coast Survey when Lt. George Davidson mistakenly identified the red-barked madrona trees as magnolias. In 1898, acres of old growth were cleared to construct Fort Lawton. Since that time, this land has witnessed calvary troops, artillery installations, Presidential visits, soldier baseball games and dances, as well as prisoners of war, lynchings and other miscarriages of justice. And now, at 534 acres, it is the largest city park in Seattle, populated with photographers, cyclists, runners, bird watchers, naturalists, beachcombers. And at least one awe struck painter.
The park has left its imprint on me, and most likely countless others. In a sense, it is a mirror held up to us revealing the environmental challenges that confront us today with all places. What legacy will we pass along with the land to future generations? Will we cherish and nurture it, provide respectful stewardship and husbandry towards it so that it may be experienced by them as we have had the good fortune to?
I wish to express my gratitude to the Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Friends of Discovery Park. Your efforts in maintaining this wonderful landscape are greatly appreciated.
Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.