From pulp to paper – trees in art

Posted by on Feb 2, 2016 in Tools, Trees

Trees have become increasingly useful as a device in my work. They’ve always interested me; I’m drawn not only to their appearance, but also to their diversity of form and function, both in art and life.

In my images they function in a variety of ways. They lead the eye to a focal point; often they serve to frame the image, or their branches usefully divide the surface into planes. They function in a similar way in many artists’ works, particularly so in Cezanne’s paintings.

Surface_Edge_and_Black_Trees Picture_Plane_I


They’re a means by which to give the image perspective or depth.




Sometimes I use them to underscore references to the surface and subsurface.Above_and_Beneath


They can have noticeable presence, whether small or large in size,



and they are an interesting device for suggesting movement, sensation and sound, as in Slight Breeze, and Autumn Gust, featured below.




Like architecture they are 3 dimensional structures, and are universally recognisable – everyone knows what a tree is, viewers are familiar with them and few dislike them, so their response to an image featuring trees is often immediate.

At the risk of anthropomorphising them, to me trees also exhibit very distinctive human characteristics, they can be indomitable, mysterious, fragile, silent, solitary, graceful, comic, scary, fruitful… It’s no surprise that they are often depicted with human qualities in films, books, fairytales and folklore.Sun's_Yield













As an artist working in paper I rather like the idea that the resource from which my primary material is made often features in my images in its original form – there’s something cyclical about that.