The moment I came across this exquisite photograph taken in 2015 by Martin Bond of A Cambridge Diary, I knew I had to draw it. I don’t know what you see first, but the lion on the tree trunk in the foreground with his paws extended downward and his claws out, scoring lines in the bark was, straight away, challenging me to look closer.
Thus, tree roots became elephants, branches snaked together and shadows took on lives of their own. The challenge was how to draw such a complex image with so much depth. I started by drawing the tree in the foreground first and then worked my way into the drawing trunk-by-trunk. It was truly like spending time in another dimension of our world – a habitat humans don’t normally become familiar with in such detail.
I have always cared deeply about trees. Here’s a description to accompany this drawing that I submitted to the World Wildlife Fund/Attenborough Film Just Imagine creative callout:
“Many of today’s trees inherited Earth before us. These scions of magnificent ancestry help create air that we breathe, offer shade, house birdsong and hold wisdom in their limbs. Yet we routinely chop down mature trees – far more than need be – regardless of many complex problems to do with tree loss compared to minimal gains. Let’s celebrate trees and the space they need to thrive. With a more considered approach to tree management, we can coexist in harmony.
I perceive faces and creatures almost everywhere, especially in natural features such as trees, rocks, water and clouds. This tendency is called pareidolia. Hopefully, my pareidolic drawing of a famous row of London plane trees in Cambridge will spark your imagination about stories and secrets hosted by trees around the world. For all of the good that they do, we owe trees our respect.”
I’m proud to have won a place in the Just Imagine exhibition with this drawing.
I’m also proud to be in collaboration with the photographer of this inspiring photograph to offer this limited-edition fine art giclee print. We have fifty 16” x 20” collaboration prints available.
If you’d like to own one of them, here’s the place to go: