I have been out sketching again. After 18 months. I couldn’t believe it had been so long. But when I looked at the date of my last drawing in my little One Sketch A Day book, it said February 2013! I know why I stopped, but that is a story for another time. Meanwhile, it’s summer glorious summer, and Prospect Park in Brooklyn is close enough to seem like my own backyard. I take my camp stool, sketchbook (a regular one, 6×9 inches) and pencil case and cross the street called Prospect Park West. There, behind the stone wall and before the “forest,” along a patch of green by a narrow dirt path used only by occasional joggers and dog-walkers, I see my tree. I know it is my tree because it is holding its arms out, calling, “Come! I’ve been waiting for you!” And right then and there I decide I will draw this tree and only this tree for a while. I will be like Joan Fontaine’s character in the movie Rebecca when she talks about how her father painted the same tree over and over again because he said that if you find a perfect thing you should stick to it.
To draw and sketch a tree is to connect with Nature, and Form. And an Energy. And an Energy Flow. I draw the flowing form of crusty bark as it weaves a pattern up and down a tree.
Water, flowing through the soil. The memory of water is
in the tree bark, with its ridges and crevices. Tree bark mimics the horizontal flow of ground water, now carving a vertical path up towards the sun, up towards the light.
Tree roots drink the water, and the water flows up through the tree. Tree bark is a living memory of water in the soil.
The roots reach out for the water; the bark immortalizes its flow.
I draw and sketch my tree, one line at a time.
Short, sketchy lines, as I marvel at this huge solidity that grew out of the crumbly ground and its particles of dirt, to stand so tall…
…with arms reaching up for joy!
(Doesn’t it look like a dancer?)