Venka Payne

Venka Payne lives in the Columbia River Gorge. The ancient forests of the
Pacific Northwest are her inspiration and reason for painting. Her work is
designed to bring Wilderness into people’s homes and lives.

“I start my paintings on site in the forest, which is both a pleasure and a
challenge: weather, bugs, dirt, the changing light… it all becomes part of the
painting. Remnants from the forest often find their way into the finished work.
One of the challenges of painting forests in watercolor is not painting: as I paint
the scene around it, the white paper becomes the complexity of light filtering
through the forest canopy. Painting is a slow process for me. Sometimes the
pieces take months or even years to complete. The work itself involves watching,
waiting, and layering: water and paint. I usually finish the paintings in the studio,
where I also frame them. I wish to give the viewer the experience of stepping into
the realm of Old Growth. As Ursula K. Le Guin said, ‘The word for world is

“My goal is to help preserve old growth forests through awakening appreciation and awareness for their beauty and value.”