49 cm x 73 cm, pastels and charcoal on acid-free paper.
Date produced: May 2008, while living at Linden Park (2007-2009).
I was inspired to draw this grand old Baileys Fig tree to show part of its wonderful 3-dimensional structure and tubular forms, expressive of the organisms amazing circulatory systems. The colours used were chosen to express how close the parts felt and to show the space that surrounds those parts.
The expression of the 3-dimensional structure of the trunk and main branches was my primary focus. I started with a view which showed strong tonal relationships - using soft afternoon sunlight (partly obscured with clouds) when the shadows helped the definition of the forms. Local colours were largely ignored. I applied oranges to surfaces that were near me, and blues to surfaces that were more distant to me. I hoped to achieve an image that had a strong sense of structure and space around it. When we see such structures in real life with our eyes, our brains excellent reconstruction of 3-D form and space provides us with a very strong understanding of the structure. I have found that my strong reading of 3-D form and space sets up much of the visual pleasure I derive when I look at things in the world around me. It provides a lot of the context for enjoying light, colour, the size of things, etc. Much of the artwork I have produced over the years has been concerned with expressing the impact of 3-D form and space.
I tried not to overwork this drawing. Even though it does rely on subtle changes of colour and tone, I wanted to keep a sense of excitement within the working of the various parts. I added some cross-sectional lines to help the understanding of the structure in front of me, but I tried not to apply them to every section of the trees forms.
Its amazing to think about the circulatory system within such a tree. Trees circulatory systems doesnt use a pump like animals have (hearts). Trees must still circulate water and nutrients to every cell. This means being able to transport water from the ground up into each of its leaves, many being way above the height that a vacuum can support a column of water - really amazing! It also means circulating the products of photosynthesis from its leaves down throughout its entire structure.