I felt miserable. I feel better now. Thank you. Nothing that a good talk with my best friend can't help resolve. For now. I have remained conflicted about painting and doing other leisure activities. I seem to focus on the process rather than the outcome. To me it is not about painting a picture or drawing an image. It is the fact that I can and I choose to do and I think about what may be if I did not have the right to pursue such activities. I am blessed that I was born in a free country to very nurturing parents and supportive siblings. I rather tend to overdo anything that I do and that includes doing art activities.
Maybe I should not judge too harshly or react negatively to those who sometimes think I am obsessed with my activities. Looking at these images, someone may have a valid point in saying I am obsessed with oak, acorns and oak leaves. After all, this is supposed to be a leisure activity, not my livelihood. Why am I spending too much time drawing so many of these?
When I first came to the U.S. in 1982, I noticed the tall trees in the park. They were beautiful. However my appreciation was not aroused until the autumn of that year, when the park turned fiery red and blinding orange. The leaves changed color. Still, I was young and restless and concerned about dating, riding my bike and oil painting after my nursing job.
Three years ago, my husband and I took our children to South Carolina to visit my parents-in-law. They happened to live in an area surrounded by a hardwood tree preserve. The towering trees suffocated me with their majesty. I imagined the many scenes they must have witnessed in the past. My mind was racing but more evident was my heart pounding when I saw the biggest oak leaf I have ever seen in my life. It was so huge it filled the 9"x12" Bristol board. It was heaven. I set about to gather leaf specimen. I still have those leaves, they are withered now but pressed in my archival folio.
Drawing these leaves was the best thing that ever happened here on my blog. The leaves caught the attention of one who is to become my dearest and most beloved sisterfriend. If nothing else, I would just be happy on that event alone.
I started studying oak. I bought books and read articles on oak, their distribution and I relished the botanical sites that catalogued them. There would be an occasional illustration but there was really nothing out there that convinced me to go out and find the books where these illustrations and painting were derived. I decided to catalogue the acorns and their leaves according to...Ces. I shall do them in pen and ink.
L to R. First row: Quercus virginiana, Cyclobalanopsis glauca, Cyclobalanopsis blakei. Second Row: Quercus lyrata, Quercus robur, Quercus laevis. Third row: Quercus rubra, Quercus falcata, Quercus prinus. Top left: Quercus marilandica.
I decided that these oak portraits took forever. At this rate, I'd be done in ten years. Who knows. Maybe I may still do that. The above acorn portraits are done in pen and ink on 9"x12" bristol boards.
I tried different media, colors and styles. They are oaky, okay, I mean but nothing special. I tried drawing them on Artist Trading Cards. I chose ATC sized cards because I wanted to get them matted, frame them and give them to friends as gifts like these framed matted acorns:
I settled on the ATC size and pigment ink. I like its portability and the reasonable length of time it takes to finish an acorn or leaf according to my satisfaction. Okay, so they do look alike. They are the leaves of the cyclobalanopsis genus. In the world of oaks, they are considered primitive.
Here are several acorns and leaf sets. I wanted to post an acorn a day. Since there are over 600 species, that would have made me very busy. I drew my 100th acorn and leaf set last week. Now I am at a standstill. I allowed myself to worry about being considered obsessive. Last night, I decided to stop drawing and painting but as soon as made that decision, I became a most unhappy and miserable person.
Cyclobalanopsis kerrii and Cyclobalanopsis pachyloma
Cyclobalanopsis chrysocalyx and Quercus darandii
Quercus doulasii and Quercus gravesii
Quercus libanii and Quercus macrocarpa
Quercus prinus and Quercus nigra
Quercus stellata and Quercus turbinella
I do that to myself. I make myself unhappy. The acorns and leaves below are very special to me. I drew the top one on Valentine's Day. I was at my sister's wake and I did not have a prayer book, so I decided to draw Cyclobalanopsis gilva as a prayer offering. If I have to give up all the acorns, I shall, but this one. Then on the flight back to the US, I drew the Cyclobalanopsis hypophaea. It is my goodbye to my sister's mortal existence. The next time I go home, she won't be there to meet me. She always met me at the airport...
On a separate note, the mango tree where my sister and I once waited for her driver to drive us to her oncology appointment was full of fruits last week.
My sister read every one of my blog posts when she was alive. Thank you, Inday Leah. I think if she was here today, she would like me to finish my project.