Visit PUC This Spring!

Choosing what college to attend is an important decision and one you shouldn’t make without doing a lot of research. What better way to research the colleges you’re considering than by visiting them? We would be thrilled to have you and your family come visit PUC! Take a campus tour given by one of our student ambassadors, sit in on a class, chat with a professor, eat in our cafeteria, walk around the charming nearby towns of St. Helena or Calistoga, AND if you plan in advance, join us for any of the following upcoming and exciting events during spring quarter.

We hope to see you on campus soon!

Special Colloquies

Each week, students, faculty, and staff gather for Colloquy to worship together and create a sense of community and unity. It might be the only time you see some of your pre-med and pre-dent friends! There are two Colloquies in the spring that may be of particular interest to you when planning your visit:

  • April 4, 2019 — Educator of the Year Colloquy, 10 a.m.; See who PUC students voted as the best teacher of the year and learn more about someone who could be one of your future professors!
  • April 8-13, 2019 — Student Week of Prayer, various times; Hear from current students about their spiritual walk and experiences.

For more information about Colloquy, check out the college’s calendar at puc.edu/calendar.

Rasmussen Art Gallery Openings

If you’re interested in seeing some incredible works of art, you won’t want to miss the Rasmussen Art Gallery. Several times a quarter, a new exhibit opens at the college’s on-campus art gallery, which often features students, faculty, and other local artists. The opening reception is a chance to meet the artists, mingle with other guests, and enjoy some tasty snacks while appreciating the talent on display. If you can’t make it to one of the opening receptions, check with your tour guide to be sure to stop by the gallery and spend some time browsing during regular open hours.

  • April 18, 2019 — Opening Reception: Student Art Exhibition, 7 p.m.
  • May 18, 2019 — Opening Reception: Senior Art Major Thesis Projects, 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the Rasmussen Art Gallery Facebook page.

Paulin Hall Music Concerts

PUC’s department of music has many concerts throughout the year at the Paulin Hall Auditorium; all of which are free to the public. The college has several ensembles that frequently perform, and there are usually multiple student recitals each quarter. During spring quarter, there are several concerts we hope you can join us for!

  • May 12, 2019 — Orchestra Concert, 4 p.m.
  • May 19, 2019 — Symphonic Wind Ensemble Concert, 4 p.m.
  • June 1, 2019 — Choral Concert, 4 p.m.
  • June 5, 2019 — General Student Recital, 6 p.m.
  • June 6, 2019 — String Ensemble Concert, 7 p.m.

Contact the department of music for more information; call (707) 965-6201 or email music@puc.edu.

Other Exciting Upcoming Events

There are also several other events happening this coming spring quarter we think might be of interest to you!

  • April 19-21, 2019 — Homecoming Weekend; If one or both of your parents attended PUC, why not tag along with them for Homecoming and hear stories about the college back in the day!
  • April 21, 2019 — Annual Angwin to Angwish Trail Run; This classic trail run is for athletes of all ages and offers a half-marathon, 10k races, and a 4k Fun Run.
  • June 14-16, 2019 — Graduation Weekend; Join us as we celebrate our graduating seniors!
  • Every Friday night — We invite you to attend our weekly vespers service at 8 p.m. where we worship together as a campus family to welcome the Sabbath.
  • Every Sabbath morning — At 12 noon, we also invite you to our student-led church service, the Twelve, which features student and faculty speakers each week.

Visit puc.edu/calendar for more information about these events.

For more information about visiting PUC, check out puc.edu/visit.

We can spend hours explaining what we think makes life at PUC so unique but there’s no better way than by experiencing it firsthand, so schedule your visit today! Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email visit@puc.edu to get connected with our visit coordinator and start setting up your schedule now.

You’re Supposed to Have Fun in College!

College isn’t just about academics! Having a healthy social life is also a really important part of your college experience. Our admissions team gets asked just as many questions about the social aspect of being a student at PUC as they do about academics, so we thought it would be worthwhile to put together a helpful FAQ for you to learn more about the fun side of PUC!

How will I make friends at PUC?

Whether you’re coming to PUC with a large group of friends or taking the plunge and going solo, it can seem intimidating when you’re on a new campus and don’t know many faces. Fear not though; there are plenty of different ways you can make new friends during your first few quarters. Every freshman is put into a Life Group with other new students to help them adjust to college life and to PUC, and meet regularly throughout the year. You’ll also start getting to know students in your classes, and within your department. Each department typically has a pre-vespers event once a quarter, so you’ll have plenty of chances to get to know your classmates outside of the classroom too.

Get more ideas on how to make friends your first quarter at PUC.

What student clubs can I get involved with?

From academic to civic to cultural clubs, PUC promises a space for all interested students. With over 15 organizations on campus, and a growing number each year, any student looking for a place to connect with those who share their passions is sure to find a group that is right for them. Here’s just a short list of some of the student-run clubs at PUC:

  • Biology Club
  • Pre-Law Society
  • Pre-Med & Pre-Dent Club
  • SPARK
  • Literature Evangelism Club
  • Thaumatrope
  • Korean Adventist Student Association
  • Student Organization of Latinos
  • Mountain Biking Club
  • Climbing Club

Learn more about what student clubs you can join at PUC.

What’s there to do on PUC’s campus?

Plenty! Hopefully, though, you’ll be spending a lot of your time studying, whether it’s in your dorm room or the library, but when you need a break, there’s a lot of things you can do. You can go for a run in PUC’s back 40 property; get an iced tea from the Grind and catch up with friends on the Campus Center patio; hit the weight room in the gymnasium to blow off some steam; cheer on your roommate at their basketball intramurals game; receive God’s blessing with your hallmates at a mid-week dorm worship; or catch a movie at the Campus Center. Honestly, you’ll have too much to choose from!

Are there fun things to do in the towns near PUC?

If the hill doesn’t provide enough social life for you, students can venture to the nearby beautiful city of St. Helena or elsewhere in the Napa Valley, where there’s no shortage of restaurants, shops, and art galleries. For students who want a break from the quiet of the valley, San Francisco is just a short drive away. There’s a reason why over 25 million people visit SF each year! You can catch the latest exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art, have a picnic at Crissy Field, go on a shopping spree at Union Square, or catch a Giants game at AT&T Park.

Explore Northern California & why it’s a great place to spend your college years.

What are weekends like at PUC?

You get to decide how you spend your weekends! Every Friday evening offers a vespers program at 8 p.m. and a post-vespers activity like AFTRlite. Sometimes there are department pre-vespers too. Every Sabbath morning there are multiple Sabbath school and church options, and you can spend the afternoon taking a walk in PUC’s beautiful back 40 property, to places like Inspiration Point.

If you want to hang out on campus, there are always Student Association events every Saturday night, and usually, there are Pioneers Athletics games too. You can also join a study group to help yourself stay motivated on Sundays to get all your homework done. If you and your friends want to get out and have your own adventures, there’s a lot to do in our neighboring towns of St. Helena, Calistoga, Napa, Santa Rosa. Or you can take a study break and spend a few hours binging something on Netflix.

Hopefully, this gives you an idea of what to expect when you’re a student at PUC. We can’t wait to have you here!

A Q&A with Ron Graybill, 2019 Civil Rights Lecturer

By Becky St. Clair

Dr. Ron Graybill has served his communities in a variety of ways over the years: professor, journalist, communications specialist, editor, and pastor. A native of Northern California, Graybill spent third grade at Pacific Union College Elementary School while his mother trained at PUC to be a teacher. He now has an M.Div. degree from Andrews University, and a Ph.D. in American religious history from Johns Hopkins University.

Graybill spent 13 years as an associate secretary at the Ellen G. White Estate at General Conference Headquarters, where he assisted Arthur White in writing the six-volume biography of Ellen G.White. His many articles on Adventist history made him one of the most frequently cited sources in the new Ellen G. White Encyclopedia.

On Saturday, March 9, Graybill will present this perspective during the 2019 lecture of the Percy and John Christian Civil Rights Conference Center at PUC, titled, “James Edson White: Flawed Hero.” This lecture is free and open to the public and will begin at 4 p.m. in Paulin Hall.

Tell us about your lecture. What will you be talking about?

It is the story of the life of James Edson White, with emphasis on his pioneer evangelistic, educational, and humanitarian work among Mississippi Blacks between 1895 and 1900, but with little-known aspects of his troubled childhood, youth, and young manhood. My presentation will also describe the sort of paternalistic racism which characterized most social action by whites during that era.

Much of what you will be saying in your lecture is an elaboration of your 1971 book, Mission to Black America, which was just released this month in a second edition. Tell us a little about that book.

In Mission to Black America, I tell the harrowing, yet inspiring story of James Edson White’s heroic and misunderstood efforts to spread the advent message among the Black people of Mississippi in the late 19th century. The Black people were willing to listen, but not everyone wanted them to hear. To write the book I visited several sites in Mississippi, interviewed persons who lived through the events described and made use of unpublished and confidential correspondence between Edson White and his mother, Ellen G. White. During my research, I even uncovered previously unstudied court records on the Olvin murder case. I think its application to current issues make it still a very relevant tale today.

Can you elaborate on that last part? What, in particular, makes this story relevant today?

We are in an era when the long-standing racism of much of American society has come more obviously into view. Understanding how even the most progressive individuals in the past still had racial flaws helps us become more aware of our own unconscious assumptions and feelings about race, and thus better able to admit and overcome them.

I understand you’ll be guest lecturing in a number of classes while you’re here. What will you be talking about?

I will be lecturing in religion, history, and English classes on Ellen White’s unreleased handwritten documents. While it is said all her letters and manuscripts are released online, it is only the polished, edited versions of those documents that have been released. I will show how a careful study of the holographs (documents in the author’s own handwriting) brings new evidence to light; evidence that has been lost in the process of correcting, editing, and polishing her documents for publication. I will also expose students to the discipline of documentary editing, showing how original handwritten documents are now commonly prepared for scholarly publication so as not to lose any of the information found in the handwritten drafts. In this study, I will make use of the previously unknown Ellen White letter that was just discovered in the PUC Library’s archival collection.

How did your intense interest in the White family begin?

As we discussed racial issues and pushed racial reforms in the 1960s, I became aware of how Mrs. White’s apparent support of segregation loomed behind the scenes. Then I discovered the historical background that rendered her statements more understandable and defensible, as well as her clear but long-forgotten condemnation of racial discrimination. My research in these topics and my book about Edson White won me the appointment to the White Estate to assist Arthur White in writing the six-volume biography of his grandmother, Ellen White.

What sparked your passion for positive race relations in particular?

My high school girlfriend was part Mexican, part Apache, and part French. I had an aunt who thought it was terrible I should date “such a person.” Her views on race fueled my passion for better race relations.

What do you hope students who attend this lecture will take away from it?

My hope is this lecture will inspire a chastened pride in some aspects of the American and Adventist past. What I mean by that is it is possible to be proud of our heritage without denying or forgetting the mistakes our ancestors made. We can acknowledge we represent the results of those mistakes, but in recognizing these things we can also move forward positively in our church, in our communities, and in our country.

Dr. Graybill’s current hobby: Hiking the 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail in one, two, and three-day sections. He’s done about 600 miles, all in Southern California.

Multi-Media: 2019 Annual Faculty Art Show

By Becky St. Clair

The faculty of the department of visual arts at Pacific Union College invites the community to the opening reception of their 2019 faculty art show in the Rasmussen Art Gallery on the PUC campus in Angwin. The reception begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16, and is free and open to the public. The art will be available for viewing through March 17.

“Faculty in visual arts constantly push themselves to stay relevant within their fields and create work relative to their disciplines,” explains Rajeev Sigamoney, department chair and associate professor of film and television production. “Art is meant to be shared with others, and the process of putting one’s work out there for others to see takes vulnerability, honesty, and bravery. This is something we challenge our students to pursue in their academic development, so it is our privilege to engage in the same practices as faculty.”

Faculty with art in this year’s show are: Amy Cronk (mixed media); Cheryl Daley (ceramics); Jayme de la Torre (sculptural assemblage); Brian Kyle (photography); Milbert Mariano (design); Bob Pappas (ceramics); Cliff Rusch (photography); Tom Turner (watercolors).

Here are some thoughts from some of the faculty in the show, reflecting on what they do and why they do it.

Brian Kyle, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts

One of the things I enjoy most about art-making is the challenge of finding innovative ways to communicate ideas and the constant need for creative problem-solving throughout the process. When faced with challenges I have found that many times an understanding of artistic disciplines outside of my current focus has offered options for innovative solutions to these problems. For example, while my most recent work is photographic, I’ve been able to integrate elements of graphic design, illustration, and printmaking into the creation of props that have become valuable communication tools within the photographs in the series. As a multidisciplinary artist, I feel it is important to continue gathering a wide variety of skills and knowledge within a variety of artistic (and non-artistic) disciplines. I am currently interested in continuing my exploration of motion & animation and finding ways to begin incorporating these disciplines into my other work.

Jaymie de la Torre, Visual Arts Assistant

I really love to work with found objects, particularly recycled materials or things that might be considered trash. I’m fascinated by the juxtaposition of things decaying and newly created, rejected and desired. I think they can be used to speak about our relationships to things that are different than us, what we consider us and them and how regardless of our feelings we are still intertwined.

Milbert Mariano, Professor of Graphic Design

As a graphic designer and professor since college, I’ve stuck with it because the field is so wide, varying, and changing that it’s constantly offering different challenges. I admire the designers Stefan Sagmeister and Paula Scher because of the constant adaptiveness and evolution of their craft. UX (User Experience) design has been intriguing me over the past several years, and the more I learn about it, the deeper and wider it gets. It’s the core of successful design and, actually, everything we do; it surrounds us whether we’re aware of it or not.

Amy Cronk, Assistant Professor of Fine Art

I’m showing encaustic paintings inspired by some photos I took of beached sea nettle jellyfish this summer on my walks in Bodega Bay. My work is influenced by biology in all aspects and often combines nature with anatomy in some form. I love how encaustic painting (a medium that combines beeswax and damar resin) creates an aesthetic that so beautifully mimics the textures and feel of both of these influences. This series conceptually depicts a conversation with the creative process that an artist might have while wrestling with their imagery and medium.

Tom Turner: “The Tower Room,” a depiction in watercolors of Elmshaven on Glass Mountain Road. From the series he’s showing, “Glowing Whites in Watercolor.”

Q&A with Winter Revival Speaker Aren Rennacker

By Becky St. Clair

Aren Rennacker is currently the youth and college pastor at the Calimesa Seventh-day Adventist Church. After graduating in 2007 from Sacramento Adventist Academy, Aren went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in PR and journalism from PUC in 2011, then his master’s in theological studies from La Sierra University in 2017.

One of four kids, Aren has myriad stories from his childhood, during which he dreamed of winning a spot on an NBA team.

He will be speaking during PUC’s Winter Revival, Jan. 22-25, and his theme is “Authentic.” We caught up with Aren so we could all get to know him a little better (how did he go from basketball star to youth pastor?) as we prepare to receive his insights on authenticity and God next week.

Why did you choose “Authentic” as your theme?

It’s such a unique time to be alive right now, and particularly to be in college. Students are forming their identities in the midst of a lot of distrust, competition, pressure, and confusion. These can all contribute to misunderstandings about oneself and what it means to be human. My hope is for one week, we can practically examine the journey of growing as a child of God, and how that actually is meant to allow for more authenticity in our lives, not less. I truly hope our time together is engaging, practical, and genuine to the students’ experiences.

What was your experience with church and worship as a college student, and how has that affected your life today?

Friday night vespers at PUC were always a highlight. I spent most Sabbaths with Kidz Reach, a group that mentored at-risk youth in Napa. Also, the religion classes were outstanding. Truly, the entire spiritual environment at PUC helped me grow in a lot of ways and led me into pursuing ministry. I remain grateful to this day for the teachers and leaders I had as guides during those years.

What’s something that challenged you as a young adult, and how did you handle it?

At the end of my freshman year, I was asked to take a year off to serve as the youth leader at a local church. At that time I still wanted to be a sports journalist and had no desire to be a pastor; however, I felt saying “no” would upset God.

I met with a mentor of mine to process the decision, and he helped me see God was not for me or against me based on my decision, but both “yes” and “no” could be the right or wrong answer based upon how I chose to spend the next year. That took a lot of the pressure off and helped me see God in a healthier way.

I decided to return to PUC that year recommitted to serving God on campus. And, what do you know, by the end of that year I decided I wanted to pursue a career as a youth pastor instead of as a journalist.

What were you like as a kid?

I was the youngest of four and I’m sure I acted like it. Fortunately, my mom and siblings were patient and helped create a great childhood for me. Sports were my passion, and I always wanted to be watching, playing, or reading about them. Reading the sports page in the newspaper every day helped cultivate my love for writing, and obsessing over the Sacramento Kings helped me acclimate to taking losses. Despite that, I was a generally happy kid who enjoyed school and loved my family.

What is your favorite food to eat?

My favorite food category is ice cream. (Is that a category?) Seriously, though, if I were to have one plate of anything, it would be my mom’s French toast. She’s the only one in the world who can make it her way.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I still enjoy playing basketball, and I’m hoping to play some while I’m up at PUC. I’m currently in the middle of several good books, including Under the Overpass, an account of two guys who chose to become homeless for five months to better understand what others experience. But my favorite free time activity is spending time with my girlfriend, Paige, which usually means a game of Uno, an episode of The Office, or a bowl of acai. Better yet: all three.

What are some items on your bucket list?

This is a timely question because I turn 30 this summer, meaning I should probably do some life reflecting. Some of the things I’ve done are travel the U.S., work at a job I love, and see the Giants win the World Series (three times). I’d still love to run a half marathon, write a book, and star on Broadway. Dream big.

What would you say is your main goal for Winter Revival?

My ultimate goal for the week would be for those listening to be willing to process or wrestle with at least one new idea or perspective they hear. Living within a faith community can often numb us to yet another message (myself included), so if any student or staff actually feel something they hear is worth consuming and thinking over, perhaps even discussing with a friend, I’d be honored and grateful. I simply long to be a small part in the journey of growth for anybody who will allow me to be.

If, in the course of said discussions or ponderings, a student has questions or just wants to connect with you about things, how can they reach you?

I would love to talk in person while I’m on the hill, or they can reach me at asrennacker@gmail.com.

Five Reasons to Come to PUC’s College Days

If you’ve never heard of College Days, it’s PUC’s special visitation event, held three times a year, and is two and a half action-packed days where you can experience what life at the college is like. It’s a great way to see if PUC is the right fit for you.

The next College Days event is scheduled for February 10-12, 2019, and we would love to have you here for it! Come experience everything PUC has to offer as you decide where to attend college. Sign up now!

Here are just five reasons why you should consider coming to College Days next month!

You will get to know more about PUC’s prime location

One of the best things about PUC is our location. Not only is it a beautiful place to live with many opportunities to get out in nature, but the campus is also blessed with a close proximity to incredible places like Napa, San Francisco, Mendocino, Tahoe, and lots more. You can visit a museum in the city or spend time on the coast. Your options are limitless.

During College Days you’ll get to experience both Napa and San Francisco in person! So be sure to have your camera handy to capture some really Instagram-worthy sights. We’ll take you downtown Napa for an afternoon and you’ll also get to spend time at Pier 39 in San Francisco.

You will gather insight into academic programs

During College Days students will discover more about college academics. Between dinner with faculty, sitting in on real college classes, and experiences showcasing many of PUC’s departments, hopefully, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of what program you want to join!

You get to attend a special financial aid workshop

Monday morning offers College Days participants a financial aid workshop allowing you to learn all about how to pay for college. From PUC specific scholarships to information on FAFSA, you’ll be able to speak with a knowledgeable financial aid counselor to learn how an Adventist education is possible at PUC.

You can hear about PUC directly from PUC students

While you’re visiting PUC for College Days, you’ll constantly be interacting with current students, which is the perfect way to really understand the heart and soul of the Pioneers community. You will stay in their rooms, join them for meals in the cafe, sit in on their classes, worship with them, and attend a panel where you can ask them any question you might have.

You will immerse yourself into college life

Come be a Pioneer, if only for a few days! One of the best things about visiting PUC for College Days is being on campus for several days and really getting to experience what it’s like to be a student here. As you walk around campus, try picturing yourself as a PUC student. Envision how great it will be to make this place your home for your college years. Make the most of your visit by asking questions and taking advantage of every opportunity to talk with current students and professors to see if PUC is the right fit for you.

We hope you will join us for our February College Days. Don’t forget to sign up! You can also email visit@puc.edu or call (800) 862-7080, option 2 to learn more and for information about our travel reimbursement policy.

Halcyon: An Interview with Diana Majdumar

As a child, Diana Majdumar loved watching her father draw. She learned the basics of watercolors from him, and accompanied him to art museums in Estonia (where she grew up), Russia, and Armenia, and was honored to receive as a gift his large set of art books printed in Russian.

After immigrating to the United States, Diana graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in drawing and painting from Academy University in San Francisco. There she learned to appreciate and explore different subject matter from traditional landscape paintings and still-life to portraiture. She has studied clay sculpture, charcoal figure drawing, acrylics in mixed media, and, her personal favorite, oil and watercolor painting.

An opening reception for Diana’s show, “Halcyon—Encaustic,” will take place Saturday, Jan. 12, from 7-9 p.m. in PUC’s Rasmussen Art Gallery. The collection of Diana’s encaustic paintings will be on display through Feb. 10, and will be available for viewing every Thursday-Sunday from 2-6:30 p.m. Both the opening reception and admission to the gallery are free and open to the public.

Diana was gracious enough to offer us a glimpse of her world as we prepare to enjoy her work throughout the coming month.

What are encaustic paintings?

Encaustic is basically a beeswax with some damar resin mixed in as a binding element to provide elasticity to the wax, making it less brittle and more long-lasting. In order to apply encaustic, it has to be melted. I use a special electric plate that lets me keep wax melted and hot at a consistent temperature without it getting too hot and smoky or not hot enough. While it is melted it can be applied with brushes one brushstroke at a time like you would with regular paint, except wax starts to harden the second it leaves the hot plate so I have to work fast. After wax is applied it has to be melted on the panel once again; this step is called fusing. This allows for multiple layers of wax to be applied. As long as each layer is fused layer upon layer can be built up.

What is the space like where you work?

My studio is in rural West Petaluma, where we moved six years ago. We fell in love with mature California Coastal oaks and how remote and rustic it feels here, even though we are only few minutes from town. My studio is attached to the back of the garage, away from the house and facing the backyard. I have a few windows and one is very large. My view is of the oaks, a meadow, and a wood stack, but my favorite thing to see out of the window is all the bird activity. In one day, I can easily see up to 20 different kinds of birds: titmice, bushtits, and sparrows in the morning; towhees, crows, and scrub jays later in the day. I usually have my camera handy.

My space is pretty well organized—usually, I know where to find what I need! Though depending on what I’m working on, it can get pretty messy. Especially if I’m just in the collage stages of the process. Lots of boxes and baskets get pulled down from the shelves while I look for the right piece of wallpaper, scrap of fabric, or page from a book.

I’m fortunate to have a studio; not having one for a long time and having to use a corner in the garage instead, I know firsthand what a huge difference it makes to have a special space. And to me it’s not just space for creating art; it’s a refuge—a place I go to first when I get home, a place I go to get away.

What inspired you to become an artist?

It was actually my dad’s dream to become an artist, not mine. In fact, he planned on applying to art school upon graduating high school in Armenia where he grew up, but his parents insisted he pursue a more ‘useful’ profession, and he became an auto mechanic instead. He did some drawing and watercolors, but casually. Years later both my sister and I sat an entrance exam to an art school in Estonia which was the only way to study art with proper instruction. Both of us failed. Only my dad was devastated. From my perspective, getting into that school would mean spending hours with strict, unfriendly teachers (we met few during the exam) after school, coming home in the dark, having to take a couple different trams to get there, and learning art from the basics up, while all I wanted to do is doodle princesses and fairies. My dad’s dreams must have stayed with me, because when I moved to the United States and career choices were in front of me, somehow art was among the options, and I took it.

Every artist has a muse or muses; what inspires your work?

Nature! I know how cliché that sounds, but it’s true! I don’t mean the grandeur of Yosemite Valley or the awesome vistas of the coast. The most mundane and small objects of nature catch my eye and stay with me, like the Queen Anne’s Lace that grows freely on the side of the roads all over Sonoma and Marin. If you slow enough while driving, you will see the white blossoms glowing in the sun in the spring. Now they are brown and have the most interesting shapes.

My painting, “Oak Branch,” (above) was inspired by the impossibly bright leaves on the branch of a fallen oak tree in the Petaluma countryside. It seemed so strange something dead could be so bright, but the saturated yellows and oranges seemed to glow when the sunlight hit them a certain way. I dragged the branch to the side of the road where I was able to take photos of it. The graceful arc of the branch and the colors of the leaves, though dead, is what I tried to capture in the painting.

Who is an artist whose work you enjoy?

My favorite artist is Andrew Wyeth. There are a couple quotes of his that really speak to me; one is, “It’s a moment that I’m after; a fleeting moment, but not a frozen moment.” That captures exactly what I’m trying to achieve in my work. When I paint birds I try and seize a moment in time. How a perfect pair of finches is poised on the branch of the apple tree right outside my window—but just for a second. Of course, I paint from photos—the birds never sit still—but I hope that I can express how lively they are in reality.

In another quote, Wyeth says, “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape.” Fall and winter and are my favorite seasons as well. I love the sculptural quality of it where you can see shapes more clearly, and the colors are more earthy and intense. Most of my paintings use elements of winter and fall: bare branches of trees in winter, red berries with all the leaves gone, brown leaves of late fall. The color palette of Wyeth’s paintings really resonates with me. At first sight, it might seem limited with its few muddy browns, but if you look longer you see his brushwork—the delicate lines. I especially love his winter landscapes.

What is the meaning of the title of your show, “Halcyon,” and how did you come to choose it?

“Halcyon” has two meanings. First, it denotes a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful, and second, it’s a tropical Asian and African kingfisher.

I love unusual words. English is my second language, and I always feel somewhat lacking in my vocabulary. A few years ago when my son had to study for his SAT, I was more than happy to help him with the 200 words that might show up on the test. I still get excited when I hear words like “boon” and “assuage” on the radio.

I especially love words that have anything to do with nature and often use them for the titles of my paintings. I have most of the books by Robert Macfarlane, who travels the countryside of Great Britain and collects the words and sayings that might be disappearing. Several years ago Oxford Junior Dictionary got rid of many nature words such as willow, pasture, and acorn, replacing them with tech-related words. I find that incredibly sad. I say we need more words like “smeuse” which is a gap in the hedge made by regular passage of wild animals, and “zwer:” the noise of the wings of a flock of birds taking flight.