Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Scribble Picnic - TREE

Phew!  It was quite a busy day here on the blog.  I don't think I've ever had a four post day before, but when holidays and celebrations collide with challenges.... oh well.  This is the last for today.

The Scribble Picnic theme this week is TREE.  I took a picture of part of the yard the other day to capture some of my favorite trees.  The dogwood in the right foreground.  The ailing pin oak to the left with the heart.  Further up the hill are my favorites - American redbuds with their springtime magenta blossoms that will yield to beautiful heart-shaped leaves.

I knew I wanted to feature a redbud, but I struggled with how and procrastinated to the point of getting this done last minute.  My lightbulb moment came as I was packing up to come home from work today and was folding up a gift bag and tissue paper from a gift the staff gave me today - navy blue tissue and a magenta bag.  I thought about punching out the blossoms for the tree from the bag but did I really want to have to glue them all down one-by-one?  No.  So I took my tissue paper, found some more in a lighter shade of blue, tore it up and then used some mod podge to make the background.  After I dried it with my heat gun I drew the trunk and branches of the tree with Posca pens.  The blossoms were done with those pens also, just a little more painstakingly.  

I'm only sorry that I didn't use more of the darker paper in the background because I like the way the blossoms pop off it.  

Trees have been a recurrent theme in my life.  Most recently when our group of friends turned 60 all around the same time.  In comparing our lives to the life cycle of a tree, depending on who you ask among us, some would say they are summer to fall.  Others are definitely clinging to those last autumn leaves, while at least one says they are definitely leafless at this point.

This is already a long post, but I thought I'd include a passage that I had written back in 2009 - a very contemplative year for me - called I Felt Like a Tree Today.  

I felt like a tree today.

As I was driving home I noticed, already in mid-August the trees were losing their leaves. Some more than others. If you looked closely you could also see that a lot of them were beginning to show signs of changing color. This hasn’t been a particularly warm summer here, though we’ve had a fair share of rain and at present we are in a bit of a heat wave. I suppose all these things factor into the early leaf drop and the color change.

It’s a metamorphosis. Not what you think of when you think butterflies but a metamorphosis nonetheless. 

These great trees stand up to a lot of variables. The cold, the heat, the wet, the dry, the calm, the wind; much like we do ourselves. And some of them weather the changes better than others. Surely, a lot of that has to do with location. Their surroundings have a big role to play in their survival.

This is when I began feeling like a tree. I thought of how I started out as a seed, then, with the right care, managed to become a seedling. How I had to have been nurtured and protected in that stage by my parents in order to become a sapling, growing taller and stronger by the day. 
There came a time then, when as a tree does, I began to produce seeds and some of them were able to take root. Thus carrying on the species.

I thought about how trees have to adapt to their surroundings. Haven’t I had to do the same? I’ve been uprooted and transplanted a few times.

I thought about how they have to withstand the changes in temperature and what the excesses do. How that puts stress on them. Is this not how I feel now about temperatures? As I get older the change in temperature seems to affect me more.

I thought about how they have to be flexible in the wind. Haven’t I had to show flexibility with my life choices?

I thought about the seasonal changes that they go through and how Mother Nature has taken her toll on them. When I look in the mirror I see this myself. Not just the outward change in hair color, or additional creases here and there. But the internal changes too. 

I, like a tree, have set down a long taproot where I am. I’ve swayed in the wind and rain. I’ve weathered extremes of temperature and fought disease. I’ve produced seedlings of my own. And, I’ve stood among other great trees. Many who have sheltered me and made it easier to withstand the forces of nature. 

Yes, I felt like a tree today.

So now I need to get this posted and visit the other Picnickers - it should be a forest of beautiful trees to look at.  Please take a stroll through yourself by clicking here.  


  1. I had to look up Posca pens, I had never heard of them. I was wondering what you had used to work so well because I imagine the mod podge must bleed through tissue. I think this would make a marvellous embroidery, I can just see all your carefully dotted red buds as French knots.

  2. Everything here touched my heart - your very lovely art featuring the redbud, and your 'tree story'. I too am feeling like a tree - an old and past its prime one! But we soldier on as they say - after a bare winter the spring returns with a new chance at life, we grab what we can and are thankful!

    Happy weekend dear - Mary

  3. wow! this looks like it took a long time, love the pink blossoms, they're quite beautiful.

    have a lovely day.

    1. Thank you lissa. I was on a mission to get it done - the time flew by.

  4. I like the different approach you took for your tree. The pink buds and the tissue paper is a very nice visual.
    Your writing of your life as a tree is so true to the cycles of life. I'm now a old tree...deep roots, and knarled in places but my heart is still a spring tree longing to do some of the things I can no longer do.
    I love the verse in Psalms that says we are like a tree planted by the river, our roots are deep and our leaves do not whither.....Thanks for a lovely post and picture.

    1. Thank you Wanda. I too am knarled in places. Yet I still think we yield to the heavy winds and bend when needed.

  5. I really love your tree, beautiful colour and design.

  6. I find it interesting how each of us finds inspiration for each piece. I love trees like most of us. I put trees in a lot of art, yet for this theme it took me a while for an idea to come to the surface.

    Your tree is lovely and fun that you used different mediums.
    I like the idea of comparing ones life to a tree.

    1. Yes, it's funny how inspiration comes to us.

  7. Lorraine,
    I love how you creatively made your picture. The use of tissue paper and pen. Fantastic. And your backyard looks a little like ours but yours is fuller - we are still in the early stages of spring. Good story about being a tree too.

    1. Thanks Janis. I wish early spring didn't go so quickly. I really do love all the blooms at this time of year.

  8. Lorraine, great idea on your piece! So glad that came to you. Well done! And nice to see a piece done differently from the rest as you've shared, with using these bits or tissue, etc.

    A thoughtful written prose here too. Lovely. Very touching. I've never really thought how for those of us fortunate enough to become parents, we end up sewing our own seedlings!

    2009 and the years after were horrible for me. I went through a hard, unwanted divorce after over 20 years.

    Now, I have waethered many stroms and have a steadfast tree that has grown up along side me and we've spread our branches through each other, holding each other up for support, growing higher still--that is, Alexandra, my dear wife and fellow artist !:)

  9. BTW, the new themes are up for the week, should you want to see those.

  10. Very artsy, your take on the theme. I love POSCA acrylic paint pens. I enjoyed reading your perspective in relation to trees and our own lives. Lovely post all round. :)

  11. Your tree is SO pretty! I'm glad you have redbuds to enjoy, too. Those and Bradford pears always let us know that Spring is really, and finally here!
    Enjoyed the life analogy with trees.


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