Archives for posts with tag: tree

beginning the first tree...

Everyone likes trees. They are pretty and useful things. So why not paint up a little stand of trees to call your own?

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

Before we begin, a few notes on what I’m using to paint. I chose a simple, broad flat brush. I used black acrylic paint. I used a piece of paper. I smudged some white acrylic on the paper first, so that the paint and any water in it would not bleed into the paper. I could have used the paper alone, and the texture of the paper would have had more effect on the paint, and I could have treated it more like a watercolour. But I chose not to.

a line. This will become a tree...

Once the white acrylic base had dried, I used a small amount of paint on the tip of my brush to draw a line. This would be the trunk, the centre of the first tree I would paint.

dabbing on branches, needles, it's all just paint

Then, I simply dotted and dabbed little marks across this line, to make a tree. Simple.

tree is lonely... time for some more

After that I added more lines, and the dabs to create the four trees that followed these lines. I had my stand! I was naughty, and didn’t follow the Law of Odds, but life’s about taking risks.

more trees, made in exactly the same way

The final touch was a sweeping mark that suggested land. The trees needed to be situated in some sort of environment, and I felt that this would suffice.

trees and their land

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

 The first of a three-part story about an artist I’ve had the pleasure to get to know through the cyber-world. Greg Howes is a multi-talented artist, gardener, historian, writer, actor, and generally very creative person. This is a bit of his story…

"Ohhhhhh". 2006, Photomorph. Copyright Greg Howes.

When Natasha Henderson asked me to write about the motivation behind my art work, I was a little perplexed as what to say. I tend to just “ do” something because I want to, rather than think about why I am doing it. Perhaps that is a failing, perhaps not? Maybe it’s because I am never short of inspiration or enthusiasm.

At present a lot of my working life revolves around researching family history and genealogy for private clients, television programmes, et cetera (see http://www.welshfamilyhistory.co.uk/) . Although I specialise in Welsh family history, I also research for people who have English and Scottish ancestors. When I am not tracing back family trees I am also a semi professional designer/photographer/mixed media art man. I paint/print/glue my images onto canvas/card/textiles and sell them on-line or in local art and craft shops.

I left School in 1980 aged 16 years. It was a time of a huge economic slump, possibly not quite as huge or as global as it is today, but unemployment was far higher than now and Britain had the worst unemployment rates since the 1930s… so jobs were few and far between. I knew what I did not want to do but all of the things I did want to do were all sadly unrealistic (or so I thought). Consequently most of my jobs in my mid to late teens and early twenties were very uninspiring (though I did find time to take an O level in art at Oxford).

Floral Mantra. 2006. Photomorph, copyright Greg Howes.

Occasionally there would be one or two jobs that paid reasonably well but this usually meant working from 7.00 in the morning until 6.00 at night and Saturday mornings. The only oasis in this wilderness of employment was a short period of self employment printing and designing punky/patterns/slogans for T shirts. Much as I enjoyed this it would not keep me in house or home. These were the days before the internet and as designer, printer and market trader the overheads were just too great for it to be sustainable.

Punk 33. Photomorph and collage, copyright 2007 or 2008 Greg Howes.

My big break came when I was accepted as an employee/trainee horticulturalist at the wonderful Waterperry Gardens and Horticultural Centre in Waterperry near Oxford. At Waterperry I managed to combine my inbuilt love of the natural world and its processes, as well as satisfying my passion for creating in the propagation of plants and research. I imbibed all I possibly could about different plant names, where they originated from, when were they in flower, how they were propagated and so forth. I know my time at Waterperry changed my life and my outlook on life completely, before then I had always seen myself as some sort of frustrated artist and poet (though I use these terms in the most loosest terms possible) without any realistic direction.

 That said, I could always use words to convey my feelings adequately in poetry, but sadly I had no real skill (and/or patience) with pencil or paintbrush. In my spare time I did dabble with drawing and painting but I was rarely happy with the results, though I always enjoyed the pastel work. The only thing I took out of this was a feeling that I could always invent something even if I could not copy at all.

Pastel. 2007. Pastels. Copyright Greg Howes.

Greg will continue his story here on Fleurbain tomorrow…

Winter's Night

copyright Natasha Henderson

For a fast and, shall we say, inexpensive Christmas tree, an option is to use a branch.

To start, I found a basket that the Branch could rest in, and just lean against the wall. If I'd had the inclination, I could have stuffed the inside of the basket with things, put heavy objects inside, etc.

 I know, I know, everyone laughs and says “Charlie Brown Christmas“. Laugh if you will. This is free. And no, it’s not stolen. People who have trees do prune them. Also, if you live nearby a park, you could seek out fallen branches.

You can twine branches together, you could pin them to a wall. A “tree” could also be a coat-stand, an existing tropical plant you have, a decorated sculpture. For those who want/need to break away from traditions, a Creative Tree is one way to go.

I put the lights on the tree... the same string of lights is doing double-duty. They are decorating a nearby window, too.

My tree was given to me by my neighbour. Up until that point, I’d planned to go to the park and seek out fallen branches. Windstorm? Jackpot! Big snowfall? Ditto! However, there was some pruning going on down the street (either natural or human-induced) and the result of that was my branch. My twig. I guess I could call her Twiggy. However, I won’t.

Over the years I have purchased and been given decorations that are particularly shiny, beautiful, and reflect not only the surrounding Christmas lights but my own sense of style. I have five favorites, and they rest on my little tree.

This year I decided to put my gifts near the fireplace. Perhaps if there were more gifts, then Easy-kins The Tree would move up to a table so that the presents could rest underneath. If I should actually light the fireplace, then I’ll move them.

I had thought about affixing Easy-kins to the wall above the fireplace, but I couldn’t figure how to do that without making a holey mess. However, as there is only a week left ’til the Big Day, then I’m not too worried! Easy does it. Simple and no stress…

My tree works well under my dried chilis, and a beautiful painting by Darren Kooyman.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

photo by Tammy Schmidt

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