Apple Tree Portrait
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During 2011 and 2012, I worked on a commission for American Clients. They wanted me to paint an old apple tree that's on their property in Wisconsin. They thought the tree was fairly ancient ... maybe even as old as 200 years. I was intrigued and challenged and delighted by the work.

When the photos of the tree arrived, it did indeed look twisted and ancient. I loved the look of it. I started with pencil and pen and ink studies to get a feel for different aspects of it. When I decided on a 'good' composition, I did a couple of pastel drawings and an oil wash on board focussing on the ' womb-like ' shape that dominated my composition. One of the small paintings that I produced at this time I thought would work as the main idea piece, and I started on the large canvas.

About two weeks into the painting, I felt the whole piece was falling apart. Whereas my small abstract study painting was successful enough, it wasn't translating well in large size; an age old dilemma for painters going from small to big. I scraped the whole thing off and started again.

This time around I concentrated on doing a more representational interpretation of the tree. A Portrait. It's structural skeleton giving me a nice strong form to paint around. The tree grew. My painting grew.

The womb-like shapes are openings to other worlds. A Mother Tree. A gift from Gaia. I like to think there is a strength and a gentleness in it. It's oldness stands up from strong ancient roots, from deep within the rich earth, and yet there are fresh and new light blossoms. A sense of hope, of new beginnings. I want to do some more work on the shapes from these motifs. Fifteen years ago I did a series of paintings and drawings called "Body of Trees" ... perhaps this is a revisiting of that Tree series. In any case, this commission has been perhaps the most enjoyable and interesting of my career to date.

The Apple Tree Portrait has flown to the US; I miss her now she has left my studio.


Photos of The Apple Tree Portrait:

Apple Tree Portrait - Original Photograph

Apple Tree Portrait

Apple Tree Portrait

21 x 30
Pen and Ink on Paper

Apple Tree Portrait

21 x 30
Pen and Ink on Paper

Apple Tree Portrait

24 x 19
Oil Pastel on Board

Reverie on a Tree

25 x 25
Oil on Board

Apple Tree Portrait

41 x 31
Oil on Board

Apple Tree Portrait

41 x 31
Oil on Board

Apple Tree Portrait

99 x 99
Oil on Canvas

Apple Tree Portrait

99 x 99
Oil on Canvas

Apple Tree Portrait

99 x 99
Oil on Canvas

Apple Tree Portrait

99 x 99
Oil on Canvas

Apple Tree Portrait

99 x 99
Oil on Canvas

Apple Tree Portrait

99 x 99
Oil on Canvas

Apple Tree Portrait

99 x 99
Oil on Canvas

 
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