Inseparable Inspiration

While waiting for the spouse to finish sanding, I am posting a card I drew from The Healing Deck by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber.



Still struggling with selecting the background from the card in Affinity Photo. It was so easy in Photoshop but it’s a bit odd in Affinity. Next time I shall try a colour selection and see if that works better.

The back of this card says that prayer and meditation bring a feeling of connection to higher forces, which will make you feel inspired and inspiring.

I’ve got the entire first coat on after adding two finer snippets of branches last night. This is the final tree, I must beat down the inspiration to add more as I go in for a second coat.


I have to go to the dentist tomorrow. What is worse, painting tree branches at the top of your mural as the sweat pours down your face, or getting your teeth cleaned?





Daily Draw February 18th, 2009

Just a quick draw today. I am in the middle of sewing something and if I start puttering with my cards, I’ll lose momentum on the sewing.

From the Tree Affirmation Cards:


Ooooh, lovely! I like the decorative gates in this picture–perhaps an entrance to a cemetery or a large park? Someone familiar with London would probably know. The cars are parked and people are walking the tiled path. The lane goes on and one can be reflective on the walk. The little figure looks like a child with a doll, but you never know, it could be a fairy.

Beside it all is the fruiting rowan. It looks like a nice day to keep to myself and enjoy nature and contemplation, and the fruit of my labour.

This is about purity of intentions and passion for life. The red berries provide sustenance for birds in the winter just as our passion for life will see us through when the outside world offers less.

In Canada we have a species of Rowan called Mountain Ash. I had one growing on the property in the early days but it died back unfortunately, and was replaced by a Linden tree.

Purity is not a word we use much any more, which I find interesting. I know it best from Purity Flour, which is a Canadian brand. It was also a popular New England or Puritan name for a girl. The innocence of pure imagination and intention: that’s rather a pretty thought with an old, old Latin word.

I am reading my new book from the library The American Quilt: A History of Cloth and Comfort 1750-1950, and working on my own sewing, so purity, sewing, quilting, and rowan trees reminds me of old-timey values and folklore.


Little Prickles

Daily Draw January 13th, 2009

I got a bit distracted making things but back to trees today.

From the Tree Affirmation Cards:


It’s interesting to see the three people off in the distance looking toward the two main figures. Gossip perhaps? Jealousy even. I think I’m being influenced by the word “false” so if I try not to focus on that I think of people being friends but actually being attracted to each romantically.

Ah, the book mentions giving each other space, hence the three friends off in the background. False Acacias are close but have light branches that touch–the suggestion of airy friendliness but not hoveringly close, just a light canopy to sit under.

It seemed a bit sinister to me, a reflection of my current view on friendship and communication.

The tree is indigenous to North America and was introduced to Europe. It seems to grow better in Europe as a specimen tree because destructive insects don’t ravage it. The pea-like white flowers hang down in spikes and are fragrant. The flowers are succeeded by pods, about three inches long, each containing from five to six brownish black seeds. It is a member of the pea family and unlike the huge thorns of real acacias the false acacia has little prickles.

In North America we call it the Black Locust tree. They grow very readily but are subject to borers and insects so the wood can’t always be used for lumber and the trees become stunted. In Oregon these trees were wiped out by beetles. It’s used as a major honey plant in the Eastern US and France.They are poisonous, particularly the pods and the bark, but not the flowers. They can kill horses and other livestock if ingested. Some people use the seeds as a laxative but I don’t imagine being semi-poisoned to the point of having diarrhea would be good for you.

Interestingly, the wood is used for xylophone keys, firewood, boat-building, support timbers in old homes and barns. It’s a very hard wood but that makes it durable and resistant to rot if you can find it. It’s good for hardwood floors and furniture, and out in the garden for posts and fencing, decks, and strangely has a fluorescent grain. It’s a gem of a wood but not well known.

A lacy lady but toxic, having little prickles and hidden attributes for those that bother.


Chestnut Days

Daily Draw December 15th, 2008

From the Tree Affirmation Cards:


Oh that’s weird. Last night right before going to bed we saw a Christmas cookery show showing different recipes with chestnuts. I asked my husband if our chestnut tree would ever get nuts and he said you can’t eat them, they aren’t the same kind. We have a Horse Chestnut tree, all the edible chestnuts seem to be Italian, and we did have many such trees in Canada, but they were wiped out by disease in the early 20th century. Horse chestnuts make great conkers, but you can’t eat them. Well, you can, but they are semi-poisonous and your stomach and intestines will be very sorry. I never knew that.

We planted some horse chestnuts 20 years ago from a large tree in the yard of the house in town that used to be the veterinarian’s property. One has taken hold in one of our perennial gardens. I suppose we should have moved it, but the birch beside it died so I was reluctant to lose a tree there.

The little boy on the card is obviously very keen on picking some chestnuts and using them as conkers. I hadn’t heard about conkers until I met my husband, who is from the U.K. Maybe the “magic” referred to on the card is the magic of childhood imagination. I can’t imagine that bashing a chestnut on a string with another chestnut on a string (which is what the game with conkers entails) would be the epitome of childhood games, but many boys love it, and speak of playing conkers with some affection.


For me, the magic is in the leaves and shade of the horse chestnut tree. They are beautiful.

I am rather embarrassed to say that one day in the summer when my husband was out, I went to the back of our property with the dogs and we stood under a maple tree and I patted its bark. I would have hugged it, but the neighbours could see me, and. . .I was embarrassed. I just wanted to stand there and smell the earth and feel the air for a bit.

We planted that tree after buying it for $1 in the bargain section of a nursery. The property did not have trees in the back garden and we didn’t have the money for a nice $70 specimen so we planted this fellow. I will never forget the minutes I spent with that tree last summer. The dogs fell down to smell the air and enjoy the faintly musty scent of the boggy pond, and I just stood there wondering why in all the season I hadn’t brought a chair back here and sat and sketched under this tree.

Yes, the booklet for the deck mentions the magic of the moment. The magic of each day and each project, each season, each tree different in each season, each year.

The present moment makes wonderful memories. I vow to sketch my horse chestnut tree, which is only about three feet high at the moment, but would love to share a present moment with me on a quiet day.


The Small Colony

Daily Draw December 4th, 2008

From the Tree Affirmation Cards:

This is a lovely card, I love birches and have several planted on my property. The woodpeckers killed one, but we keep the trunk standing as the birds like to perch on it. I suppose we will have to trim it down one day , but the birds like it so much and the woodpeckers are still at it. My father used to trim the trunks of dead birches down and plant clematis to grow up the trunk; it looked beautiful. I have a photograph of my husband and I on our wedding day almost 33 years ago by a lovely birch stump with clematis in my parent’s garden.

I like the booklet saying that you might have to strike out on your own for a while but that you will find like-minded souls. “Birch trees often form small colonies. So do not fear – you will not be alone for long.”

This ties in to a woman acquaintance whose assumption that I had “unattainable standards” about people was off-the-mark. The only standard I have is that people respect me. If they don’t, then I don’t want to know them. It’s a very simple philosophy, and leaves me with several good, like-minded people in my life, albeit a small colony.