Friday, April 5, 2019

Trees, ancient, towering, majestic and awesome!

Entwined - Charleston's Angel Tree 12 X 24, Colored Pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard
For some time now I have had a fascination with trees. My first son even works for the Dept. of Forestry.  I live on a wooded lot in rural VA surrounded by some amazing specimens. And that doesn't always mean towering giants, twisting branches can be full of artistry and character even in the smallest of Japanese Thread Leaf Maples.  The image above "Entwined" is a partial section of the upper carriage of The Angel Oak Tree, near Charleston SC.  

"Angel Oak is a Southern live oak located in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island near Charleston, South Carolina. The tree is estimated to be 400-500 years old. It stands 66.5 ft tall, measures 28 ft in circumference, and produces shade that covers 17,200 square feet. Its longest branch distance is 187 ft in length. Wikipedia"

I have been on a personal mission to visit with and witness as many of the truly historic, amazingly large and unique trees on our planet.  Click the Wikipedia link above to read more about this wondrous tree.  I have photo references for many here in VA that are in my "Must Paint" file.  And during my Pacific Northwest & Canada trip last Sept. I photographed some really amazing trees.

When I decide to draw the Angel Oak I decided to focus on the entwined branches and the resurrection ferns that grew on the branches - instead of the leaves. Per one of my favorite  blogs that just happens to be in Charleston: Art Food Home: "Resurrection ferns when dry turn brown and appear to be dead. When it rains they’re rehydrated and turn a lush green without a speck of brown. Apparently there is a special protein the resurrection fern has called DEHYDRIN which allows it to become lush and green only hours after receiving rain/water! These ferns last up to 100 years!" You can read more on her blog.
One of the many reference photos I used.
Concentrating on the branches of this tree was easy because I had so many photos from our trip back to Charleston just to find this majestic beauty.  With all the other trees in Angel Oak Park and their greenery which isn't the prettiest in early March, kind of dull/sparce, BUT the sky colors reminded me of the humid dusky air present the day we were there. This inspired me to do the background in warm dusky colors of the late afternoon.  A little Greyed Lavender, Dusty mauves/pinks/peach and warmed blues moving across the background.  The light that played on the branches I kept warm but still hinting at the greenish Spanish moss and green cast of other mosses on the branches.

Although I often live up to the "Crazy Artist" reputation in my family - the day we were at the Angel Oak I felt a kind of "hum" or lets call it an energy that seemed to surge from the ground into my body.  Something I have felt in the presence of 2 other Majestic Trees since then.  I'm not sure what it is but it leaves you knowing you have been in the company of nature's time aged wisdom.  



Can you feel it? Next time you're in the presence of a natural wonder take time to feel the energy. After all who doesn't need more energy?


Look for more of my tree series to come, but now there's a still life on my drawing board.

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