The Farley Center Tree Carving Project is a collaborative effort. A storm destroyed an oak tree, but left behind a 10-foot-tall trunk. This created the opportunity for a collaborative art installation. The trunk has been divided by three carved vines into panels. Each panel is an opportunity for an artist to use and transform by carving, painting or attaching works of art.
As the oak is rooted in the land, we chose the theme of Rooted in the Land for the tree carving project.
For 2021, I chose to reproduce the Burr Oak from the Welcome Center on a large front facing panel. Trees have a root system that is unseen, but is as extended in the ground as the top is in the air. I have carved the Burr Oak in relief above the ground line and the roots are incised below. I also used thinned acrylic paints and linseed oil.
Which is the more important part, the seen or the unseen? Really the tree is an interdependent system. Some ask if the earth is more important than the people or are people more important than the earth. Are we not also interdependent and part of a system of life?
I’m making up the process as I go. Using photo reference transferred with graphite paper, I set in the deep crevices. Bark is rough, so I have to avoid the temptation to smooth things out. Next I textured the surface with a small u shaped gouge. Now I will come in and create intermediate sized crevices and clean up the two vines. That will be as far as I can go with carving. After that will be painting.
I’ve been invited to participate in a show for Lent and Easter with the title, “The Life of a Seed”. Part one is an acorn in relief. Part two is a segment of an oak tree. This is before and after. Acorn will hang during Lent at Christ Presbyterian Church in Madison. The show will be rehung at Easter with the before and after pieces together.
The oak tree is a close up of a tree at the Farley Center.