My participation in the Earth Dance 2019 environmental art show is to continue to work on the Farley Tree Project.
The tree is a 10 foot trunk of a fallen oak tree. After some planning, we settled on using carved vines to divide the tree surface into distinct panels that artists can use to create pieces that fit the title: Rooted in the Land.
Outdoor art is a challenge on several levels. The weather limits when work can be done. Even so, after stripping off the mark and making a grid on the trunk, I was able to transfer the vine drawing onto the trunk. Then began the work of carving in the vines. This process is about half way done. I plan to have all the vines finished and painted by the onset of winter.
On testing the tree for the quality of the wood, I discovered that one of the areas is relatively soft. This lead to idea of attaching woodpeckers at that level. I chose Red Headed woodpeckers for two reasons. They are native to Wisconsin and tend to like to roost in the standing trunks of dead trees. The other reason is that these birds are declining in their population. This is thought to result from the smaller number of available dead trees left standing on private property. The other reason is that these birds will sometimes chase after insects right into traffic.
Woodcarving often uses products that are not environmental. So I created a stain for the red heads using beets and beet greens. The black color is from soaking steel wool in vinegar.
I am working on developing a good green color, but that has not as yet been successful. I have collected some walnuts and want to create a brown stain from those.
The tree itself is sealed for now with a coating of linseed oil. It will be interesting to see how the colors weather.
There are plenty of panels available if you would like to participate in the project. Here is a link to the simple application. Artists Proposal
I have been thinking about a carving that suggests Hope in Advent. I went through a lot of very complicated iterations until I hit on the idea of the Prophet as Seer, looking into the night sky to see a special star. The prophet will have a long lyrical beard, suggesting time.
basic levels established
relieving the background
initial outline with v-tool
forming the beard
Erin and I attended a journal making class in La Crosse on Saturday, October 18. This is designed to integreate art into science instruction. We made one journal out of a cereal box and practiced taking field notes in that one. We drew leaves we found outside and we drew a pigeon feather. Next we made a nicer quality journal with book board and fine paper. It was a great class and the overlap of drawing, and other forms of art, to seeing fit right in what we want to do.
see photo album
We went to State Street in Madison to visit the mobile Sketchbook Project Exhibit. This is a project that has people, artists and non artists alike make and submit sketchbooks. They take the books submitted each year on a road trip. One can check out a book and get a second random book to view . They are all filed with a searchable data base. It was quite fun. I had searched for quilts, so the attendant added to my selection a book made out of cloth. At the front of the book was this quote in Latin:
This phrase fits the idea of Two Books, that Nature has a kind of design. You can see that design as the result of natural selection, you can dispute if there is any design, or you can see that behind the design is an artist.
I’d like to explore sketchbook making and keeping as a future Two Book Retreats course. Stay Tuned.
Our last class was also the first day of Dave’s vacation. So here finally are some pictures from that day.
Our view from the Yahara River at Lake Monona
Dave’s work started
Dave’s work at midway
Nancy at work
Nancy’s travelling kit
I’ll be there with other people who work with, carve, cut, and know about wood. Wood is Good!
Urban Forest Fest
We observed that nature and humanity are very much in a partnership along the parkway. It is hard to say which predominates. If we quit mowing and trimming, Nature would predominate along the Yahara River parkway. Yet the very existence of a river instead of a wetland shows human engineering and care. The river as we see it between the lakes came about from dredging and a locks placed in 1905.
The scene I chose to paint illustrates this.
cultivated natural area