Sustenance

Trees and people. And art.

I see

a small painting right there on the last wall of the Modern Masters from the Hermitage exhibition. It’s Odilon Redon’s Woman Asleep Beneath a Tree. The colours are vivid-heart-blue and blood-song-red. The texture is knobbly, gritty.

Odilon Redon art

Woman Asleep Beneath a Tree    Odilon Redon

The blurb says Redon believed trees

‘encapsulated the essence of eternal nature and formed an axis

linking the terrestrial and celestial realms’.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Trees. Ahhh. Large trees. Ahhh.

Bridging earth and sky,

pouring out oxygen,

providing home,

quietly dancing their interconnected lives

for all to see.

I am ignited to consider images of humans in relation to trees. Sure, I’ve spontaneously painted Sally-style trees quite often. Yet, there’s something evocative, memory-sparking, dream-lifting, fairytale-diving, about a picture of a human adult or child making contact with a tree in some way.

Oh, of course. There was my recent-ish post – 
Lost and Found in the Forest.

Sally Swain art painting collatge

Lost and Found in the Forest
Sally Swain © art

Trees and people. And art.

Then I recall my Resting in Abundance Tree. This bejewelled painting on calico was inspired – would you believe – by a Psychodrama Conference session on ancestors. During an ancestor meditation my imagination oddly leapt straight back to a big old tree, bypassing centuries of great and great-great relatives.

Since creating that work, when I remember, I attempt to conjure the bliss of leaning back into the voluminous, solid trunk of a large mother tree.

Swain art tree

Resting in Abundance Tree
Sally Swain © art

Trees and people. And art.

Some months ago, I stayed in an aesthetically displeasing cabin in the mountains. The one charming element was the broad beech tree overhanging the balcony. I gazed up into its intimate branches and swept into floods of tears at the cascading cognitive loss of a family member.

I painted a wee picture: Deep Grief Beech Tree. The cushion she sits on becomes the Blue Mountains. The sheltering branches become an eye.

What do you see?

grief tree art Swain

Deep Grief Beech Tree
Sally Swain © art

Trees and people. And art.

My niece is twelve.

She has just made the transition from primary to high school. That transition so many of us made in unguided horror in the old days, is well supported by her new school. On holiday from Melbourne, she climbed a massive fig tree – the type of tree some Sydneysiders take for granted. I love this photo. I might just have to do a painting of it.

tree climb photo

Poised
Niece in Tree

Trees and people. And art.

Marion Alexandre is a beautiful artist I found on Facebook. She does a lot of people-and-tree pictures. Let’s see – here’s a link: Marion Alexandre images.

Trees and people. And art.

Recently I chanced upon a library book:

In Their Branches – Stories from ABC RN’s Trees Project.

Gretchen Miller, editor, says, ‘In 2013, ABC RN asked its audience for stories of the trees they loved and the trees they had lost – and as director and curator of the project I was astonished by the volume of correspondence, and deeply moved by the unique nature of the very personal stories told.’ The book is a selection of the written snapshots sent in by the radio audience.

Trees and people. And art.

More people-and-tree artworks are clearly required.

Do you have a favourite piece

of art or writing that celebrates

a human-tree relationship?

Or, even more personally:

do you have a story of a tree

that matters to you?

Or, even more artfully:

have you created an artwork

including trees and people?

Odilon Redon art

Woman Asleep Beneath a Tree

with love, art and soul from Sally

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The-Not-Strictly-Artist-Date

Says Julia Cameron, superb Artist’s Way originator:

‘The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” —

think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination.

They spark whimsy.

They encourage play.

Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.’

So…off I go to the annual celebration of art and nature that is Sculpture by the Sea Bondi. This is not strictly an artist date, as I am not solo, and it’s certainly not weekly, but it sure is replenishing.

Grand heroic monumental type sculptures? They were there aplenty. You won’t see them in this blog. In this year’s Sculpture by the Sea, I enjoyed small pieces (with a touch of the domestic)

Sculpture by the Sea

But it’s not my Rubbish?
Monique Bedwell
Sculpture by the Sea

tucked away in crevices

Sculpture by the Sea

But it’s not my Rubbish?
Monique Bedwell
Sculpture by the Sea

I loved whole ecosystems

Sculpture Sea

The Reef (Earth Mothers to the Rescue)
Ian Swift
Sculpture by the Sea

Sculpture by the Sea

The Reef (Earth Mothers to the Rescue)
Ian Swift
Sculpture by the Sea

made up of small components.

Sculpture by the Sea

Karda-Megalania
Elaine Clocherty & Sharyn Egan
Sculpture by the Sea

Here – a mixture of

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You are the One

warm wishes for solstice

bird heart solstice art

The Bird in the Heartwood
Sally Swain © original art
Is it finished? Not sure

Night and day

You are the one

Only you beneath the moon

And under the sun

 

gold thread connection

Resurgence
Art and Soulstice
Sally Swain © original art play-in-progress

I begin this blog with an ancient, yet fabulous Cole Porter song. It’s the sort of song I play at work in the nursing home

to get the enlivenment going;

the joyful recognition and creativity flowing.

Today, I taste the lyrics while musing on the solstice, the moment when day and night are poised in equal balance.

I get all deep and meaningful.

‘You are the one’ could be a cosmic phrase as much as a personal sentiment. Night, day,

moon, sun,

dark, light:

You are One.

Together, you polarities make up the one great gersplunking totality.

And if that’s the case, that it’s all part of one gigantic whole (Gaia, I guess), then on my microscopic insectudinal level, I can feel less timid about posting

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What do you see in this picture?

Delight at the Aunty Art Cafe

heart art underwater

What do you see in this Picture?

All Ingredients of Joy are Present:

Art materials (portable)
A nice cup of tea (English Breakfast)
A nice niece (well, more than nice, really – fabuloso)

A splendid location (water views)

A breeze (the bees knees on a hot day).

watercolour art co-creation

Upside Down Waterscape

I am in love

with my new watercolour Brilliants.

They are called Brilliants and indeed they are. Brilliant.
(I hope my aquabrushes don’t feel jealous. We have a longer term relationship. We are calmly companionable, my aquabrushes and I.)

Ruby and Sal begin.

Actually, I begin. With a simple blue swooshy line across the page. We are across the road from an ocean beach, so it makes sense.

watercolour collaborative art

Beginnings

Ruby continues. Swirly seaweedy

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Tree Fern Woman

Wishing you peace, art and healing

for Easter,

Pesach,

Just-Post-Equinox,

Full Moon

and

Blue Moon.

I fell over in New Zealand. In February, I fell over in New Zealand Aoteaoroa outside Piha General Store. Just a little fall, but a pulsing ankle resulted.

How might I heal? How might any of us heal?

tree fern radiate art

Heart of the Tree Fern
Waitakere greenness

Rest,

ice,

arnica

and….Tree Fern Woman.

A bit of art and

a bit of nature didn’t do any harm.

It helped.

It helped that I was staying in a cabin amongst the treetops, able to gaze softly into the heart of the fern.

It helped that I was able to ponder the spine of the kauri.

That ankle eased up in no time.

art healing fern NZ

Tree Fern Woman
Waitakere Ranges

Finally! I

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Do you have good memories

of a poetry book from childhood?
I am lucky enough to say YES.

The Golden Treasury of Poetry
by Louis Untermeyer

illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund

formed a substantial,  sumptuous part of my young self.

 

I confess I remember pictures and rhythms more than words. Images found their way into the innermost part of my make-up. I can’t recall specific details, but I know in my core the colour essence, the flavour, the sensory delight that fed me from age dot.

I wish to introduce to you…

A Boat of Stars.

childrens poetry book

A Boat of Stars cover

I got to experience the Sydney launch of this delicious anthology of poems. True to form, my visual artist self has mostly imbibed the illustrations, but hey – the poems are pretty damn fine too.

Margaret Connolly and Natalie Jane Prior are the esteemed editors.

kids poems

A Boat of Stars
back cover

A heap of writers and illustrators contributed.

They range from extremely experienced children’s book creators

Julie Vivas

Illustration by Julie Vivas
detail

Kerry Argent

Illustration by Kerry Argent

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Sculpture by the Sea

(Bondi)
is a collaboration between

Sculpture by Sea

High Tide
Tsukasa Nakahara

art, nature and community.

An endless stream of all types of people

views, talks, walks

along a divine stretch of coastline. 

Sculpture by Sea art

Great Southern Noongar
Janine McAullay Bott

Some sculptures

consciously collaborate

with the elements.

They change dramatically

over the days.

art collaboration nature

Rise and Fall
Small Ocean Collaboration with Jeremy Sheehan

This figure perches

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