Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 1 Aspens for the Olsons

This is the beginning of a commission piece I've been needing to get done.  It is for a precious family that has been so encouraging to me in pursuing my art.  They needed three canvases to hang in a row above their couch in their living room... and they love Aspens!  I researched Aspens first and came across a few things that you may find interesting...

One was a poem sent to me from a friend  titled 
"Binsey Poplars" 
by  Gerard Manley Hopkins (1879)

My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,All felled, felled, are all felled;
Of a fresh and following folded rank
Not spared, not one
That dandled a sandalled
Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank. 
O if we but knew what we do
When we delve or hew— 

Hack and rack the growing green!
Since country is so tender
To touch, her being so slender,
That, like this sleek and seeing ball
But a prick will make no eye at all,
Where we, even where we mean
To mend her we end her,
When we hew or delve:
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
Strokes of havoc unselve
The sweet especial scene,
Rural scene,

The other thing which really inspired me to go ahead and paint was this little story from a Tree Legend website   
Populus tremuloides 
This tree was referred to as ~Distinguished man or wood.~ In Old Irish, the word for ~wood~ and the word for ~knowledge~ came from the same root. The leaves of the Aspen tree were believed to tremble, hence it is also known as the ~Shivering Tree.~ The Greek word ~kepkis,~ which means ~shuttle~ was given to this tree because of the movement of the leaves. 

It is believed that the cross on which Christ was crucified was made from the wood of the Aspen tree. The tree was filled with grief and remorse at being connected with the Crucifixion. The Aspen was the only tree reputed not to bend but to tremble as a result. 

According to a legend from Germany, the Holy Family was walking in a forest and all the trees bowed. The only tree that didn't was the Aspen. Seeing this Christ cursed the tree, and the leaves began to tremble and have continued to do so ever since. 

The movement of Aspen leaves have been associated with women's tongues. Aspen is said to cure fevers, as it was believed to have curative powers. The nail clippings of the sick person were placed in a hole cut in the trunk that was covered again to seal the tree. This was effective only if it was carried out at night.

In the language of flowers the Aspen Tree symbolizes Lamentation; Sighing 

I began to paint . . .
Day 1 of Aspens
for the Olson Family
I'm not done yet...
                 ... more to come