We are so excited to share with you the first set of artwork from our open online art show “Branches.” Photography, drawing, painting and writing are represented here.
We’d love to hear/see your interpretation of the theme “Branches” and will be accepting submissions through the end of August and be posting new pieces. Perhaps your piece could be/ will be in Feature #2.
Bill Youmans. He says of the above piece, “notice how the branch from the upper left becomes 3 branches, and then following the stem of the leaf as it spreads into the leaf structure, the 1 into 3 pattern repeats itself over and over, smaller and smaller.”
Elaine Furister – See more of her work on Facebook
Kelly Cook – To see more of her artwork and purchase this piece
Essay by David Shelley:
Grieving Lost Branches
As I write this, two younger, more vigorous men are cleaning up the mess in our backyard. A heavy, wet snow came through one night. It brought much-needed moisture for our trees. But it arrived at the end of October, before the trees had shed their leaves. The heavy snow collected on the leaves, and branches as thick as my waist snapped like fortune cookies. Nature’s pruning took away locust, aspen and maple branches, and half of our old willow. A lot that once looked forested now looks as though a tornado had passed through. One young locust had the pliability to bend all the way, its top touching the ground, before I broomed off the snow, allowing it to spring back. But it straightened only halfway. It now leans like an old man with his walker.
A tire swing once hung from one of those willow branches. My father loved to swing his grandchildren when they were small. He, like that once-mighty branch, is gone now, and his grandchildren have grown and left the house. This was expected, but I dwell on it with mixed feelings, not unlike the mixed feelings I have had when saying good-bye to too many departed friends.
It is natural and good to get snow in October, and natural for mature trees to shed major branches at times. There is a time to break down, and a time to build up, Solomon noticed. But we do not merely notice such seasonal changes. We mourn them. I will miss the massive beauty of the willow, and the welcome shade it brought. It is now in a season for starting new branches–not because it is spring, but because most of the old branches are gone.
The willow itself does not seem melancholy. It will prove hardy. Years from now, it will have great branches again. I am the one who mourns the loss of those branches, because I enjoyed watching that tree spread its green canopy, its shady glory, over our home. I enjoyed watching my father play with his grandchildren. It is the past tense that lingers like a dark cloud.
A friend of mine said that when his father died, he felt as if his covering had been removed and he was exposed to something–I’m not sure what. Looming mortality, perhaps. I think of him as I look at our willow, now looking as ragged as a family name after a scandal. I feel the incongruity of that welcome water, feeding the tree it broke, renewing the process of beautifying and beneficial growth. Will we ever see unlimited growth without pruning, I wonder, or will we gain an eternal appreciation for the necessity of breaking off branches to reinvigorate new growth? Will I someday experience heavenly pruning and exult in it? Or will I never be pruned again? I long for a pure faith in the Vinedresser, a faith that trustingly welcomes either option, because I am tired of grieving the loss of old, familiar branches. – November 2012
To hear more from David find him over at Facebook