Tree Drawings

As a resident of the West, I am surrounded by trees. I hike between them, ride my bike through them, and sit under them to catch solace from the summer heat. I feel connected to them, and that is why I began to draw them. Pencil and drawing pad in hand, I would set off to find the tree and then I would sit…and draw – sometimes for 12 hours – adding sheets of paper as the graphite tree essentially grew. It wasn’t until then that I began, and only began, to understand them as individuals. Sitting for nine hours with a pinyon allowed me to observe the way the sun cast its light on the tree and therefore grasp why it favored growth in a particular direction. While attempting to draw a gnarled juniper on Muley Point, I, like the tree, was a victim of ferocious winds blowing off the mesa and understood why the tree was so twisted and wild. Sitting in a clearing cut by logging trucks I drew a ponderosa, observing the spray-painted mark on its trunk and became blatantly aware of its destiny.

These drawings are portraits. Their subjects, great sages.

Juniper – Muley Point, UT,
2005
20″ x 26″
10 hours drawing
So windy and hot. Feeling burnt. I don’t know how these trees survive.
Juniper – Cedro Canyon, NM,2005
graphite on paper
19″ x 27″
9 hours drawing
Jumping to keep toes warm. These trees are marked for cutting. A fuel break, maybe in spring
Ponderosa – Cebolla Canyon, NM, 2004
graphite on paper
14″ x 24″
11 hours drawing
Quiet and nice to sit in the shade It must have been lightning that bent this tree.
Spruce – Cottonwood Canyon, UT, 2005
graphite on paper
17″ x 32″
8 hours drawing
So cold I had to draw in my sleeping bag. This Spruce has the beetle. The weather is its grace.
Pinyon – Cebolla Canyon, NM,2005
graphite on paper
17″ x 23″
10 hours drawing
Bothered by two bees and sitting on a slant. Tough tree to draw.
Pinyon – Cebolla Canyon, NM, 2005
graphite on paper
17″ x 23″
10 hours drawing
Bothered by two bees and sitting on a slant. Tough tree to draw.
Ponderosa – Fire Point, AZ, 2004
Graphite on Paper
17″ x 49″
12 hours drawing
Third day with a cold. This Ponderosa just missed death and has the mark to prove it.
Piñon – Muley Point, UT, 2004
22″ x 19″
10 hours drawing
Lost paper twice to the wind. No wonder this piñon is so twisted and small.