Artist Members from the Ancient and Sacred Trees' DirecTree Talk About What Inspires Them ...
I invited our new DirecTree artists to help celebrate Earth Day. Nature is inherently creative so here we look at what this means for us as humans and how we can relate to nature in a deep and meaningful way by looking a selection of creatives from the AST DirecTree as an example.
Both art and nature have proven benefits for our mental health and wellbeing. Combine the two and you have an extremely powerful recipe for nature connection uniting humans with the world around them. Creatives then are an essential part of our communities, educating, illuminating and inspiring.
The arts are more vital than ever for keeping up morale. During #lockdown nations across the world are engaging with the arts, supporting artists as well as engaging in practical creative activities such as painting, films, writing, textiles, photography, radio, sculpture and more. When we connect with our creative nature we are essentially connecting with the natural world.
In our online groups’ members have said many times about how seeing others creative work is inspiring them to make their own personal expressions about what matters to them.
We must all connect with nature in as deep as way as we can each manage. Air pollution is directly linked to respiratory disease. The seas are filling with plastics and acids. The land is disappearing under litter and being gouged out to make things humans think they need.
Each dawn in summer as a boy I’d wake,
Awoken by a tide of bird-song taking place.
The volume’s feeble now, compared to then.
I wonder if my childhood’s birds’ orisons
Would thus have sounded just as weak compared
To those my parents’ infant ears had shared,
And going further back in time, the Ice
Age ending in a diaspora of trees;
A trilling roar at dawn from feathered throats,
A crescendo in a canopy of oaks!
‘Save the tiger!’, ‘Save the elephant!’
Ignore the shame that’s happening here at home:
The starlings’ murmuration, a dwindling host,
Amid the corn, the bunting sings ‘The Last Post’.
Some people say, ‘there’s far too many badgers’
And others say, ‘and then there’s all those rooks’
But no one says, ‘there’s too few garden birds’
For silence is a sound, that’s never heard.
AST member ©PDBrown
Thousands of trees are being destroyed every minute and its’ not just in Brazil, which is the place that everyone thinks of when they think of environmental destruction but everywhere all over the world. Here in the UK where I live, the governments (both right and left) of the past ten years have sanctioned the destruction of trees on an epic scale not seen since the first world war by giving the go ahead to a scheme that nobody wants. HS2 is wildly over budget, it is already technologically out of date and is destroying over a hundred ancient woodlands. These woodlands represent a large part of the last remaining 2% of the UKs’ ancient woods. The UK is one of the most nature depleted nations in the world. And why? Because we have cut down virtually all of our forests. In other words the climate problem and the environment problem are not "elsewhere" but right here on our doorstep.
This is the problem. Many are still not connecting with nature and the situation we find ourselves in ... and if they do there is a tendency to think of the problem as being "elsewhere, in some country far away from us. Or, at least this was until recently. Now that lockdown is upon us and the pandemic has taken hold we are all faced with uncomfortable questions. What caused this virus? How can it be stopped? Can we create a world where respiratory diseases are not fed by pollution? Can we create a culture in which we are all willing to engage in a world wide solution to pollution? Are we willing to engage with the world around us and acknowledge that we are not the dominant species but an interdependent one?
What can we do to create a more deeper connection for people to the world around them?
We have a real opportunity here. Art has an important role to play.
P.D. Brown is a writer and story teller who brings the magic and beauty of nature alive through the written word...
On Broadleaved Woodland.
It’s cool beneath the trees in summertime
Before the flies that irritate the peace,
A peace that ebbs and flows with swaying boughs;
Rush and recede those waves of foliage,
Slow-tousled by a breeze that passes over.
The colour-fest of autumn feeds the eyes.
The change of air excites a deeper sense.
With surfeit rain and rot the earth grows drunk.
Slow falling leaves provide a swan-song show
And when it’s done, the dark is drawing in.
Black winter twigs splay stark against the sky.
The wind is hard that strikes a naked nest
And kicks its empty shape along the way.
Trees stand like monuments to what is gone.
An iron wood; its life has gone to ground.
At chilly springtide, tight-packed leaves burst buds.
Before their shade, the yellow, white and blue
Of woodland blooms; repeat surprises strewn.
Then warming; busy birdsong captivates
With note profusion; gentle clamours’ charm.
The tilt and orbit of the Earth put on
Return that never jades by lengthy stay.
A thousand different lives live off each other
Within this ever-changing outward scene;
A presence always there that draws me back.
We lived there once and never can again;
Each nation’s cradle made from its own wood.
Before our work became hard labour’s drudge,
Before what’s holy rose beyond the skies,
Then heaven’s life was woodlands when we died.
Elizabeth Grima known as Little Liz Happy Art creates a range of paintings from capturing idyllic moments of observation to more lyrical captures of the feelings trees evoke for her.
Below: ‘Reach for the Sky’ Elizabeth says, "Have you ever looked up and felt so small, so humbled and yet so uplifted energised and powerful all at the same time? Trees are immensely awesome and can have all kinds of amazing effects on us. Just feel the positivity and possibilities."
The Wisdom Tree.
The ice receded, they returned, with time,
Even as far as Scotland’s western isles,
A boon to hunter-gatherers, a food
Of choice, so rich in fat and could be stored,
If snow stopped hunting, children would be fed.
Before the plough had ever turned this land,
The Staff of Life was hazelnuts, not bread.
When fields appeared, rainforest slowly shrank,
Canopy oaks still sheltered under-storey
Hazels long valued, managed and maintained
For crops of useful poles, for fuel, for hurdles;
Truly sustainable were coppiced hazels
Right up until the nineteen-fifties. Turning
From use, let’s look at histories, myths and fables:
Tacitus tells us German tribes, on seeking
Divine advice, would read the signs inscribed
On slips of wood cut only from a nut-
Bearing tree – almost certainly the hazel.
In Yorkshire Chum-Milk Peg protected unripe
Nuts, and abundant catkins meant there’d be,
Folk said, abundant childbirth nine moons on.
Such lore’s now found in books, not daily life.
‘Knowledge of Oak’ we’re told is druid’s likely
Meaning. The Mabinogion’s Gwydion
Was changed from man to deer, to pig, to wolf
On being struck three times by uncle Math’s
Long wand of wisdom wood, described as but
A rod, and “few there are who know it; where in
The wood it grows, the wand of Math”. I’ll wager
It was a hazel branch; in Eire, Fionn
MacCumhail’s thumb, burnt by blistered salmon skin
- A fish that gorged on falling nuts, well nourished
By overhanging hazels, nine in number,
Around the salmon’s pool – gave Fionn all knowledge.
Now thanks to us, the salmon and the hazel
Have never been so few, a loss we’re yet
To know the bottom of. One thing is true,
We’ve lost the timeless gift of one small tree;
Perennial wisdom. Tomorrow’s price we’ll pay,
In ages past, the hazel’s prize was free.
Jacqui de Rose Art
Jacqui de Rose Art is wonderfully talented artist whose Pagan beliefs have created a deep spiritual connection with the natural world around her.
"The original painting above is part of a series of Acrylic paintings celebrating the fauna of the British Isles linked to traditional ancestral wisdom. This print was inspired by the greening of the woods at Beltane. Deer represent pride and protection but also gentleness and kindness to self. The colour green can lift mood and represent heart energy. This is a celebration of the abundance at the height of Spring. "
Below "Tree of Life - Oak. The original painting is part of a new series of Acrylic Tree paintings and depicts a Tree of Life in the centre with the roots and branches entwined. As above, so below. The tree of life reminds us that all living things are connected through both space and time. Traditionally oak trees are seen as sacred and carry various meanings including strength, knowledge, perseverance, wisdom and purity. The colour green is recognised as calming and a heart healer."
The UK is one of the most creative nations in the world. The creative industry as a whole brings in £101.5 billion a year. Our creatives not only bring in revenue they inspire us to be better, to live better and to be the change we wish to see.
Artists champion beauty, they champion philosophy, they champion thinking out of the box and independence of thought, they champion following your own path, they champion sacred connection, they champion knowledge, but above all they champion inspiration from engaging with the world around us. Art is life.
This is what AST is all about. Unless we engage more people with nature we are not going to be able to enable culture change. The way to do this is by celebrating beauty. As of April 2020 AST has over 55,000 members and why? Because our ethos is:
PosiviTree for CommuniTree.
We champion Positive Action. We celebrate what we love by sharing the beauty. And here is the thing .... People only protect what they love! By sharing beauty we are enabling people to remember their personal sacred connections with nature and the ecosystem they are a part of. I say ...
Does art have a role to play in saving the world?
Have you been moved to pick up brush or pen?
Let me know in the comments.
Courting Beauty is the Rebellion and Love the Revolution.
What can you do?
Share what you love! You can do this by sharing your thoughts with us by writing blog articles, via comments, sharing things for the Positive Newsletter, or joining one of our groups and sharing your own work or celebrating those of others
Becoming an official member of AST by signing up for the newsletter
Celebrate the arts by sharing your favourite creatives accrediting their pictures
Help publicise your favourite arts events by telling your friends
Support the arts by buying their works or offering commissions
Share this website with your friends