As adults, if we don’t have a job or an activity that requires us to draw often, we usually don’t spend that much time drawing. Over time it can even become very intimidating to draw. It is something I noticed in many activities and open studios I organized-Children usually don’t have any fear and will happily try drawing or painting, the adults usually have more reserves. Maybe it is about expectations about the end result and being more self conscious.
So when we were thinking about a participatory, collective Art project for Culture Days as a collaboration between Sophie Babeanu (Expressive Arts facilitator) and me, we wanted to allow everyone to participate without the pressure of having to draw anything intimidating.
As I am working a lot with trees and forests, we wanted to stay in the same subject and we had the idea of re-creating the look of my “Tree cookies”paintings , but to replace the rings with writing. The idea was that every participant will share one or two sentences and write them on the tree.
I did paint a few “tree cookies” paintings (Time Lines: Ink and Graphite on canvas)
For the project to work visually we needed to make it not too small and decided to try to fill out a tree cross section that would fit on a 48 x 48 inches paper.
For the Culture Days weekend we had the following set up in the studio:
At the end of the Culture Days week end, we had filled about half of the tree. A visitor gave us the idea of allowing online participation. This was an exciting idea because it allowed the project to grow from a local collaboration to a world wide multi-cultural project!
So we gave everyone the opportunity to participate online by filling out a form on my website and we did write what they wanted to share on the tree. We got amazing feed back, many people commented on how they enjoyed being part of this group project and we got quite a few different languages on the tree! All this positive feedback made the project very special and meaningful for us and it was great to see the enthusiasm generated by the possibility to be part of an art project!
Every online participant was entered a draw to win a print of the final artwork and we took a picture of each contribution and shared it on Facebook. Contributions were anonymous but you could see your words being shared on social media.
It was fun to see the tree grow slowly!
This is the tree on Saturday 26 in the morning
This is how the tree looked at the end of the first day, Saturday 26
The tree on Tuesday 29
The tree on Wednesday 30th.
The tree on Thursday Oct 1st
The tree on Friday Oct 2nd.
The tree on Monday October 5. All the rings have been filled!
To provide a bit more contrast between the tree and the background, we decided to add a light layer of charcoal powder with a cheesecloth.
And we painted the bark with a light layer of India Ink.
The next step was to paint a light layer of white fluid acrylic in the cracks and the background to “clean up” the painting.
We applied a layer of varnish after having mounted the painting on board.
The painting has been mounted on board.
The last step was to bring the painting to a specialized scanning company, we did that and the painting is now available as print on a variety of support on Fine Art America:
All profits will go to the Harvest project, a North Vancouver local charity and food bank.