Artist Kimera Wachna started working under the name Gracemere Woods as an homage to her childhood in New York, where she was raised near a forest “full of dark magical nooks, streams of sparkling light through the trees, hidden burrows in plain sight,” and, of course, all manner of wildlife. To this day, this enchanted place is her biggest inspiration. “The creatures and realms in my work depict a semblance of childlike wonder and storytelling,” she says, “juxtaposed with deeper and often darker themes of life, death, and rebirth.” The canvases she most often chooses to paint on are pieces of discarded wood, as well as wood foraged from free fallen branches. Using them is her way of “continuing the life cycle of age-old trees,” she says. “A revival of sorts.” Though she’s most drawn to owls, all beasts are magical to Wachna. They “remind us of how to connect back to ourselves, the parts that are hidden or long forgotten,” she explains. And the forest and its creatures continue to provide an endless source of magic and inspiration. “There are stories at every corner,” she says, “wanting, waiting to be told.”

Find more of Wachna’s work on Instagram or Etsy @gracemerewoods.

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