On the cusp of the New Year I met the ancient olive tree that finally broke a creative drought that had gripped me for years. ‘God’s fountain’ rained on my parched artist’s soul. (The Greek word for epiphany, Θεοφάνεια, breaks down into ‘theo’ [god], and ‘fanaiea’ [fountains])
This tree emanated an almost tangible aura that touched me from 50 metres away. I was profoundly and powerfully awestruck by an irresistible force, instantly understood intuitively, but only dimly comprehended intellectually.
I knew I had found my muse. I began sketching her gnarled and twisted limbs, the warp-and-weft of her tangled roots, her tattered amputations and her many textures. Working in her presence, I found that I could only tackle small parts of the complex labyrinth of branches and roots, and only for short stretches of time. Every nuanced texture contained centuries of history, palpable and overwhelming.
I started tentatively with small, rough explorations in different media, and finally girded my loins to progress to larger works. By the time I was working on the eighth variation I felt I knew her a bit better and was able to work more freely - introducing new mediums now - the Ibiza’s red earth and charcoal powder.
I exhibited this series in a solo exhibition at Aubergine Restaurant, San Miguel, Ibiza, in September 2019. I videoed the opening night during a quiet moment (see below.)
There is more work for me to do here, not just personally, but also on the Tree Project that has evolved out of it, collecting global 'Tree Stories,' people's creative responses to trees,. There is a hand-written book of these in the pipeline.
How my own work will develop remains a mystery to me for now. I am sure it will come to me.