Art During a Pandemic-Cedar Tree Trunk
You are most welcome to my very first blog post! Here I will write about one of my favorite subjects-trees and cedar trees in particular. Also, a few words about how art helps me cope during the time of social distancing. I am very grateful you visited and hope you can relate to what I have to say, and also to get something out my artwork.
The Cedar Tree
This species has long been a part of my life. Northern White Cedar is native to Michigan and always present wherever I lived. As a teen I sometimes used the fragrant boughs as a sleeping mat and fuel for the campfire when roughing it in the woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The wood smoke is wonderfully scented.
I have often drawn and painted cedars like the drawing at the beginning of this section. The bark swirls around limbs and hints at ancient, gnarly life. I drew this sketch one evening along the banks of the Chippewa River at a nature preserve called Sylvan Solace. Written on the sketch is “giizhik”, the Ojibwe word for cedar. The drawing is okay but I experienced a deep joy, a spiritual experience, while drawing it; that doesn’t happen often but is welcome when it does. Usually I get the strongest feelings in the evening just before dark and I’m trying to get the drawing or painting done before light fades completely.
Burning of the cedar boughs is a form of purification, and giizhik-the Ojibwe word for cedar- is one of the four sacred herbs of the Anishinabek, along with tobacco, sage, and sweetgrass. Cedar used to be called “Arbor Vitae” which is Latin for “Tree of Life.
I am very thankful that painting and this tree helped me get though the frustrations of our current times. Creating reminds me that I’m still free and an expressive being and I’m very grateful! I’ll think I will smudge with some cedar soon.
Thank you for reading my very first blog post! Creating by painting AND writing is going to be a fulfilling and sometimes difficult process. Other than case notes in my professional life, I haven’t done creative writing since college. I’m going to try because I am strongly motivated to share what I believe and the art I make about the natural world. I would appreciate a comment and some constructive criticism.
Please come back and enjoy my blog and art!
“Art During a Pandemic-Cedar Tree Trunk” is currently available. If you are interested, go to my online shop.