Retro-Blog part 8: The Tree Series Finally Takes Root

Flat Tint 2
The Retro-Blog: Looking back at the development of a successful creative project in 2006 and the lessons learned along the way.

I had been spending a lot of time doing abstract concept drawings and had begun to feel that although working that way allowed me to “express power, movement, light, perspective, texture…” it was too raw a way of working that revealed more of my inner emotions than I was comfortable with in terms of work I would show to other people. I decide to keep on working on them – as I was determined not to censor what evidently needed to come out – but to temper them with working on something quite different.

On 07/02/06 I wrote,

I spent a bit of time retouching some of the Manchester tree photos…I hope I will be able to find my way into them as a subject matter…What I see myself doing at this point, or what I feel I should be doing, is enthusiastically getting carried away with the possibility of these trees…Perhaps I will simply have to confine myself to them and see what happens…When I saw the bare trees in the UK I was very moved by them and spent the whole two weeks with the thought in my mind that to photograph them and then play with the patterns somehow would be a very good thing to do…

…What I feel I should be doing is exploring those trees…dissecting them, multiplying them, turning them inside and out, finding what they are like white on black instead of black on white etc. etc….in other words, a million things I might do with trees. In fact I think that is what I will do…a tree series…

I already have a collection of ‘tree’ material on the noticeboard to the right of my table in my studio…so that’s what I am going to do and yes, I feel comfortable with it…I’m just going to immerse myself in trees for a while. I’m not going to worry about colour, just monochrome for now…

This train of thought brings to mind a painting I began earlier in the year that I got stuck with for both technical and emotional reasons and I realise that it had a big tree in it. The connection with this earlier abandoned work feels good.

Maybe it will be trees and birds as I have a number of photos from Manchester with birds perching in the trees…and I have my beloved doves…and I have a funny little sketch I did of a big bird on top of a tree which just came to mind…and I have a sketch of a tree in one of my old journals I have been meaning to scan…so yes, this looks like the way to go and I will have not have lost the thread of that earlier painting after all…

…Ok, softly, softly, baby steps…just a tree and maybe a bird, monochrome…that’s all…and then play with that tree in a million ways…I will call it my ‘Tree of Life’ series and hopefully it will be about me growing out of my little artist acorn and into a big, strong, many-branched artistic tree!

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