Art Project || Drawing a Tree Stump

I decided to start a new art project recently after finding an open call at a local exhibition for young people. I had been wanting to start something for quite some time but couldn't find the time or motivation to actually begin. Having the opportunity of the open call was motivation enough, especially as the theme was 'grow' which works wonderfully into my love of nature.

I've always been intrigued and inspired by the natural world and how it works. Recently I found myself studying tree rings more and finding out about who discovered the link between tree rings and their annual growth. I was surprised to find that this was Leonardo Da Vinci and that he also discovered their size links to the climatic condition of each year of growth. He was an amazing man who was fascinated by the world around him and had an utter compulsion to discover how it worked. I find his work inspiring and thought tree rings would make a perfect art project.

I decided, especially as this was a contemporary call, that black and white was the way to go, it creates more of an impact and takes a step away from traditional botanical painting and drawing. I chose to use fine liner and drawing ink; the fine liners gave me the ability to add detail whilst the ink gave me the ability to cover a large amount of paper, which brings me to my next point. My subject, a tree stump, could be quite a flat piece with minimal impact if done on a small scale but as this was a contemporary call and I needed to create as much impact as possible and again move away from traditional botanical artwork I decided I needed to get this as big as possible. I thought about what surface to use for quite some time but decided it had to be paper and good quality at that. So I searched the web for the biggest sheet of drawing paper I could find and found 152cm x 122 cm piece from Atlantis Art, I thought this would do the job nicely and ordered it.

I next went out and about to find the most interesting tree stump in the local area. I found an old one, which was chopped down years ago, by Burrator Reservoir, about five minutes drive from where I live. It had a great shape and due to it's age had started to rot and had little pits and marks. It also had moss and lichen growing on it which I thought would look great when drawn.

I took photographs of the piece in development after nearly every session I spent working on it:

The final piece:

My artist's statement:

'My fascination for the natural world and the way it works has led me to study tree stumps which allow an insight into the annual growth of trees through their rings. I have attempted to convey the incredible physiology of trees through a high level of detail, along with a large scale and a stark lack of colour to create impact. The message of this piece is not only of appreciation but is a sombre reminder of how reliant we are on trees, that by cutting their lives short, surely as a race, we are doing the same to our own.'


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