Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thumb print trees

I started on a project for a friends daughters wedding. She wanted a thumbprint tree for her wedding guestbook. the idea is a bare tree and the guests will use the ink pads she sets out to make a thumb print leaf on the tree. I told her I would work on some designs but once I got into doing the trees I just could not stop.
There is something soothing about making these trees. I like the idea of the whole thing. Having a record of everyone who attended your wedding in such a personal way. And also as an artist the idea of being able to let go of a finished piece and give it up to be altered by others. That whole idea just intrigues me.
I of course have not been able to do a design like she requested though. She wants a "swirly tree"....... My hands refuse to draw a swirly tree. I can do a twisted tree and with some effort I actually was able to twist the branches into a heart but so far not a swirl one.
I never was able to do commissions. No matter how reasonable the request my brain always screamed "hell no" before I could even grasp what it was they were asking for. No matter what the medium from paintings, drawings to jewelry , pottery or lampwork beads and no matter how reasonable the request I resisted the commission.
Oh well.....
The two trees I have finished here are acrylic and ink on canvas board. I thought the board would hold up to the assault of 200 thumbs better than paper. I like the idea of original art for the base because I think everything in a wedding should be unique. Prints are nice but a little less personal.
I put these up on Etsy so that I can feel good about making more....Did I mention I love painting trees? Each one is so unique and yet fits into the forest nicely with all the others. The perfect symbol for the joining of two families.


  1. Ruth, these trees are beautiful, and I especially love how you incorporated a heart, allowing it to still look realistic - very nice! I'm intrigued by your comment about refusing commissions. It made me wonder if you also chafe at authority of any kind. Since elsewhere you've made reference to a difficult childhood, perhaps this is the way your subconscious responds to what it senses as any type of control, especially with respect to your most personal expression, your creativity. I'm apparently in full armchair psychology mode, Ruth. What I know for certain is that you are a gifted artist! Thank you for sharing your work, and your life, with us. I wish for all the very best for you!

  2. Thank you for your lovely comments.
    Actually I do the authority thing quite well but I did spend 4 years in the army so that may have something to do with it.
    I think what bothers me about commissions is that people who are usually non-artists are trying to convey their special vision to you and they usually lack the "words" or concepts that are needed to convey the full picture. And even if they come close to explaining it they don't realize that once produced through your heart and hands it will come out the other side as your vision of the idea.
    I have seen it work very well and then I have seen it fail miserably.
    At any case it has almost never worked out for me. The closer it was to their vision the less I liked or enjoyed the piece the closer it was to my vision the less they liked it. And honestly the less rejection in my life the better..LOL