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Starry Tree

Watercolor painting (mixed watercolor-media: watercolor dye & silk screen paint) on 24" x 18" 140 lb cold press paper.

  Gregory Hochman, 1999

This tree painting depicts a special moment in the life-cycle of a tree.  During the life-cycle the tree has to overcome the forces that work to shorten its life and prevent it from giving its nutrients and beauty back to the earth and the people.  The climax in the tree's life cycle is the time or season when it overcomes the challenges of survival and growth and reaches a higher state, at which point, for the remainder of it's life, it can share its nutrients and beauty with everyone and everything.  This painting, however, is not about the climax.  Rather it's about the denouement in which the tree has already overcome and is thriving and giving back; now, for the moment, the tree is beneath the countless heavenly stars, giving Praise and Love to its Almighty, and yet Invisible, Creator.  After going through so many trials the tree now knows the secret of its life is its Creator. 

The Title

The title, Starry Tree, makes reference to Van Gogh's Starry Night.  I chose this title for because it captures the painting's two main subjects and because it does remind me of Van Gogh's unique and beautiful painting.

The Making of Starry Tree

Starry tree was begun in 1999 along with Autumn Tree & Stormy Weather Tree.  Together the three were intended to form a set.  However, while Autumn Tree & Stormy Weather Tree were completed in 1999, Starry Tree was completed many years later.

Why it Took so Long to Make the Stars

This painting helped give me much appreciation for the Creator's work of the stars.  For when I tried make weak and imitation stars it took years.  On thing I tried to do is immitate the vast number of stars in clear, clean night sky.  

How many stars do you think are in Strarry Treee painting? Hundreds? No.  Thousands.  At least.  Ten thousand? Maybe.  I don't know exactly.  At this point the answer is, as with the number of real stars, a mystery.

tree painting

In making these simple stars a couple of mysteries presented them self to me.  First, throughout the entire process I had to gauge how many stars I needed and the portion of the stars.  Second, I had to figure out how to make the stars, especially using watercolor paint and paper.  At fiirst I tried forming the stars by making tiny circles with the blue paint so that the white of the paper remained.  This seem to take for eternity and it didn't feel right because the stars were below the sky because the white paper was below the paint.  Next, years went by I didn't try completing the stars until the mystery of how to make stars was solved.  Finally, I decided to try white, watercolor-silkscreen paint and to use a pin to set the stars in place.  It worked along with a little  brushwork to refine and complete.

Three Generations in the Making of this Painting

The pin, which I used to make the stars came from my grandmother's sewing kit.  Lillian or Lilly or Lil was her name.  Lil made some beautiful sweaters and many creative things during her cycle of life.  I'm glad she is a part of this painting... 

Starry Tree Watercolor Painting

Paints: Fiber reactive, powder-based, watercolor dyes

Paper: Cold press, watercolor paper

Brushes: Watercolor brushes, various sizes; & a stiff, short bristled brush


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