The lovely tree, glorious and humble all at once.
For millions of years, the tree has been the most relevant plant on our planet. Whole species have evolved and survived among the protective embrace of its branches, peoples have worshipped it, and societies have thrived on its gifts of food and shelter. However, in the last 200 years just in the United States, our society has launched an all out war on one of the very elements of our own survival. Systematically destroying millions of acres of forest and cover for industry and development, we have disconnected from an anchor in our own evolution.
In my introverted childhood, I would seek out the comfort of trees to calm my mind, to escape from a turbulent household, and to claim great unknown adventures. The quiet friendship offered to me by trees has shaped me as a person and as an artist.
Some of my most cherished memories include deeply inhaling the thick smell of pine during a summer day at Cape Henlopen, witches noses and monkey balls, fresh apples, the mane of the willow my husband and I were married under, climbing under the branches of a Magnolia tree in Georgia so old my mother and I were able to stand underneath it, Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax”, falling out of a treehouse my brother and I built, climbing to the very VERY top of the same tree within a few weeks and hiding from the taunts of a neighborhood boy, so many more that it breaks my heart to think that not everyone knows the same kind of love I have for trees.
“The Tree 1″ was an attempt at honoring the very living thing that breaths with us. Every branch was painstakingly rendered, line by line, in several colors to reach the reddish brown of its bark and each cluster of leaves burnished and layered many times. It is by far my favorite piece, and has become a signature image for me.
As I finished the drawing, the weeping cherry trees along my road began to blossom. It was intoxicating, and the flowers were of such an exquisite beauty, I nearly wept. I took hundreds of reference photos, but they barely captured the delicate and ancient glory of thousands upon thousands of flowers suspended overhead against the clear blue sky.
Cherry Blossoms © Pamela Slaton
Cherry Blossoms © Pamela Slaton
The process of drawing this will be long and difficult, with each mark on paper a step back into the moments that served to form me as an artist. I hope with every day that conservation is not left just to the people like myself, but to everyone, because everyone benefits, everyone and everything’s survival depends on the survival of the trees.
“Completely self taught, I have only taken a high school art class. Through many years of reading, experimenting, and practicing, I have taken the humble graphite pencil, charcoal stick and colored pencil, as well as other mediums, and learned to create beautiful portraits and illustrative drawings. What I enjoy most is how often the personality of the subject can be read through a portrait. A certain smile or glance, how one sits or holds their head, among other things, are all subtle ways the subjects individuality comes through.”
To learn more about Pamela:
Website: Expressive detailed portraits and art in graphite, charcoal, colored pencil and mixed media
Facebook: Portraits and Art of Pamela Slaton
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