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"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks.  Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story." ~Linda Hogan

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Starry Beech

Watercolor Painting

Powder based watercolor on 140 lbs, acid-free, watercolor paper, 12" x 9"

Starry Beech Watercolor Painting

 

This painting is based on a Weeping Beech Tree from Allentown, New Jersey.  It also draws on some of my experiences gazing into  starry nights in the Arizona wilderness, Vermont and other places.  My eyes have seen a wondrous display of heavenly lights; my pupils have been massaged by photons from seven hundred million light years away, approximately.  And for these things I'm grateful and fulfilled.

Starry nights have always been a source of fascination to me.  Even at a young age they gave me a sense of awe and, as with so many before me, provoked me to ask questions, especially about the Creator and life and the universe. 

There are now virtually countless towns & cities where the night skies are dead, but there are still places where the stars form a web of light and sing their praises.  To me it has been worth the effort to find such places. 

 The stars and sky in this painting symbolizes the desire to grow and move upwards, not socially, but in terms of learning and growing in truth. 

The stars are not the only meaningful elements to me in this painting.  Although the ground nor tree roots are shown, the trunk is thick and strong and, for me, trees typically symbolize groundedness.  Also, the interaction between tree branches, stars & sky (negative space) captures various yin-yang relationships, including light and darkness, stillness and movement; simplicity and depth; heaven and earth.  And there is even a vague yin-yang symbol towards the top center of the painting.

The tree itself takes on various forms, including animals and female shapes.  Many of the forms in this painting were not initially planned, but once I spotted a form I, to a large extent, had the choice to embellish, change or hide it.  Some of the forms include a female face and her long hair w/in the branches; a female body within the trunk; a cat's head, ears and part of it's body are towards the top of the painting; and the profile of the three, dolphins within the branches.  Plus, you might see more forms, which I haven't found yet.

 This painting also has a shooting star.  If you can find the woman's face, which is formed by branches right above the trunk, then you may be able to see that she is gazing at the shooting star. 

When ever I see a shooting star I am pleased, but there is one, which I saw in connection to this painting, which made me euphoric.  It was a cold, clear winter night and I decided to go for a walk soon after a satisfying session of painting Starry Beech.  I came across two trees on the side of a nearby country road.  The tree branches were interacting and formed a canopy.  Naturally, I gazed through the canopy and while being captivated by the twinkling stars a fantastic shooting star streaked across the sky.  I am thankful for simple things and I'm thankful that I've seen numerous shooting stars, but in terms of longevity and intensity this was the best! I was beside myself at how bright it appeared and long it lasted. I was impressed & inspired.  For that moment it seemed like the painting had come alive.  Plus, on top of this, it was not a normal, cold winter night, rather it was, of all things, Christmas 2009 and at that time I was living in Griggstown, NJ.  Now, I don't prescribe to Christmas as being the true day of Christ's birth - I believe there is much better evidence to show it was in the fall; which I'd be happy to share if you contact me & inquire about it.  Either way, the most impressive shooting star I have seen was born that night.

Beech Tree Watercolor Painting

 

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