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 Nature of Nature

Creative or Crazy?

tangled tree Swain photo

Creative or Crazy?

Malformed or Beautiful?

horizontal tree trunk

Malformed or Beautiful?

Is this a tree? It doesn’t look normal. Its roots are where its trunk should be.

Could this indeed be the Tree for Our Times?

It shouldn’t

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Climbing Trees, Knowing Home

How lucky am I?

My original muse was David Swain.

He helped me find my niche.

He helped me find my balance.

He helped me find my footing.

He helped me know home.

My original

leaf art Swain

Leafettes
micro mini canvasses
Sally Swain © original art

muse, David Swain (1923 – 2010)

would be turning 93 right now. My dear Dad.

He taught me to climb trees.

spotted gum tree photo

Folds, Spots and Wrinkles. A tree has no need for anti-ageing cream.

and know home.

I was not a confident little girl.

When I was seven,

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How to Grow a

Delicatree.

tree art painting Sally Swain

Delicatree
Sally Swain © original art

A PAINTAGE RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • a palette of squodgy leftover paint from your residential aged care art therapy clients
  • patterns, textures and colours from magazines of any era
  • a cup of expressive slapdashery
  • a cup of order-making quietitude
  • a black felt pen
  • a goodly dose of tenderness
  • a slug of love
  • immeasurable commitment to creative process

Method:

 

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Prepare to be subjected to the Land of the

Long White Blog unfolding itself across time and space.

Can you cope?

And what am I talking about anyway?

Remember the Resting-in-Abundance Tree from a couple of weeks back?

Sally Swain tree art

Resting-in-Abundance Tree
Sally Swain © original art

Well, it came to

Continue reading