"One and all, we at some time fabricate a 'world of our own;' a world in which we are both creator and participant. Infants play happily with 'friends' unseen and unknown to anyone but themselves. Older children are able to weave highly descriptive tales, and delight in the intricacies of costume, character and plot. However, in only a few of us is the creative intimacy of these fabulous worlds kept alive, and nurtured, through the years that lead to adulthood.
To a select few is given the gift of recalling, revisiting and, thankfully reproducing their worlds of fantasy."
From the introduction by Leo John De Freitas
Edited by David Larkin
What a beautiful passage to encapsulate the core of most artists! We are without exception, members of a powerful fraternity of 'Peter Pans'... who refuse to relinquish their imaginary worlds and visions for the sake of gaining entry into the comfortable and 'taken- for granted' milieu of adulthood. How often have you been challenged and reminded sarcastically... "to grow up!" or to... "Act your age!"... from every corner of your life? We choose to live in harmony with each other , for the most part... and with an unusual and abiding respect for... and dependence upon the Natural World in which we dwell.
Recently, one of my Blogging Friends suggested that artists... including her Self... have larger than life egos and insatiable appetites for attention and notoriety. To some extent "I" could agree... if the use of the word ego corresponded to the dictionary meaning I found... that ego meant self-esteem. Then this would be so. Having the courage (out of a positive sense of Self) to create and display one's creations without fear of criticism or comparison is a positive attribute... that I only wish others could feel and practise in their lives.Obviously... like in other places of endeavour ... there are the others... but they are not from my own experience the average.
The Truth is that there is a distinct and radical difference between the term ego and egotist. An egotist is one whose elevated sense of self-esteem reflects only an interest in themselves and their less than realistic, or fair evaluation of their own self-importance. This being said... let's get back to Arthur Rackham.
I have singled out Rackham's work because so much of his illustrative mastery and oeuvre dedicates itself to less than Disney depictions of the his Faeries... or their magical kingdoms in which they dwell. The elves and sprites he creates are really... as De Freitas suggests "derivative of the bark and branches of the trees in which they live, and of the earth upon which they trod." Gnarled and exposed roots of massive beeches "are to be found in the long, knotted fingers of woodland imps." Beyond the forests of trees harboring these mythological peoples, "the trees themselves are often personified."
Perhaps it was this early introduction to the thought that Faeries and forests could be constructed... if only in one's mind that has caused "Me" to search out... record and trees and elements in the Natural World that support vision and extraordinary opportunities to let one's mind loose... the way that children do. I find it easy to find these "mind benders" - they seem everywhere... if one cares to "see."
I continue to collect old and out of print books about the great illustrators of the past. People like Rackham... Howard Pyle... NC Wyeth... Joseph Leyendecker... Everett Shinn... to name but a few. I was raised on their classic illustrations in classic literature from my earliest childhood reading experiences. Treasure Island...The Christmas Carol... Robinson Cruse... The Drum... Last of the Mohicans.... just to name a few I have in my collection.
The work of those brilliant illustrators provided a keyhole for "Me" to peer through... guiding "Me" to worlds which used art as a vehicle to transport "Me" beyond the blase and restricted world of a small community and limited school curriculum... into vast and limitless worlds of adventure.... fantasy... mystery... courage... and imagination.
As well... in my journey I have met a number of other kindred spirits who share my pleasure and my love for "things wooden." I have included some jpeg images to showcase their visions. I thank woodland hunter-gatherer Maia... for her wonderfully and meticulously beautifully crafted Forest Folk... my wood sculpting fellow artisan on the 7th Line Oro-Medonte for his forest filled with Woodland Spirits... which brighten my day on many an otherwise dreary winter day. They are but one of many kindred spirits who pass forward the love for our forest and tree legacy! Thank "You"...all!
The stump fences which profusely dot the rural landscape in our area and indeed across most of Ontario are the relics left by our settler forefathers. They were pulled and propped along property lines to mark land grants given by the Crown. They are natural sculptures... beautifully twisted... gnarled and weathered by hundreds of silent years of sleep along fence lines. I love to look at them... and realize the effort of the settlers... and the raw beauty of Nature's work.
This site is a forum to share ideas and discoveries in a non-critical fashion. It is meant to encourage sharing... positive discussion and to increase the awareness that the making of Art is a form of expression... deserving the same value as is placed by society... as reading or writing.
I truly hope that my "segway" journey devoted to Trees... encourages others to devote some time and energy to studying forests and trees. They are really often... still life... landscapes... portraits ... and sculpture... in their own right! And they live all around us... no matter where you live!
My last Tree post will show my own playful use of trees using what "I" call my intuitive style where reality and fantasy knit together to create opportunities for me to play... and work outside of the box... and my usually predictably dependency upon detail and what is in front of "Me". Stay tuned!
"I speak for the Trees!"... said the Lorax. And so have "I"!!!
Good Painting to all !