Spotlight on For The Love Of Trees

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:
http://www.hiddencreaturesart.com/cambridge-collaboration-prints-shop

WWF/Attenborough Film Exhibition Launch Event

Thursday the 29th of April is the launch date for the Just Imagine exhibition, which features the work of twelve winning artists (out of 640 entrants). I’m very proud to be one of the winners. Here’s a link to the winning artists’ profiles and information about how to register for the free one hour launch event (happening 18:00-19:00 hours on Thursday 29 April):

Cambridge Science Festival 2021

I’m very happy to be one of the contributors to the Cambridge Science Festival in association with the MIT Museum in Massachusetts, US. I’ll be talking about pareidolia drawing. As the entire festival is virtual this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, my talk has been pre-recorded and is available to view online throughout April. I hope you’ll check it out.

Here’s the link to my talk:

Pareidolia Drawing – What’s The Point?

These previews were offered via social media posts on the Cambridge Science Festival page:

The festival is full of fascinating, free virtual events throughout April.

Just Imagine Exhibition Winner!

I’m delighted to share the news that I am one of 12 artists to win the World Wildlife Fund’s recent creative callout for UK artwork. Based on a theme of hope – for a reimagined future where nature is put at the heart of our decisions – one of my pareidolia drawings has been chosen out of 640 entries.


I can’t share the actual winning image until the exhibition launch, but I can say that it is a drawing inspired by one of Martin Bond of A Cambridge Diary’s fabulous photographs and that the image is of a very famous row of trees. From 30 April onwards, we will be offering collaboration prints for sale as limited editions here on this website: https://hiddencreaturesart.com/cambridge-collaboration-prints-shop/


The Just Imagine virtual exhibition launch will take place on Thursday 29 April at 18:00 – 19:00 hours. Visit https://attenboroughfilm.com/creative-arts/ and
https://www.wwf.org.uk/just-imagine for more information and further announcements as the event draws nearer.

#AttenboroughFilm

#JustImagine

@wwf_uk

On Sharing Pareidolia

The recent launch of my website http://www.hiddencreaturesart.com has quickly revealed how interesting it is to share pareidolia artwork.
Pareidolia has been defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern”. Yep, that definitely feels familiar and those meaningful images that I perceive as a pareidoliaist often amount to creatures or just faces. This word is not to be found in my beloved 1983 Deluxe Second Edition of Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary – a book that cost $5 and has survived being lugged around the world for many years.

However, the German word pareidolie can be found in the 19th century work of Karl Ludwig Kahlbaum, which he used in a similar sense to how we use the word pareidolia today.

As I drew Holly and The Ivy, I stayed true to my own perceptions throughout the drawing, apart from one exception where I purposefully added in someone whom I did not actually perceive in Martin’s photograph. When I mentioned this to the fabulous group of Facebook followers on A Cambridge Diary, where Martin Bond
kindly shared my drawing alongside his beautiful photograph (which he took in 2013) of Trinity College main entrance, a marvellous stream of guesswork developed in the comments:


“Elizabeth I? Bottom left wearing the ruff. Daughter of Henry VIII, who founded Trinity in 1546”
“Dame Sally Davies, current master from her glasses?”
“Is the elegant lady bottom left Katherine Parr?”
“Virginia Woolf? I associate her with Trinity and feel as if she’s in your picture?”
“Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland”
“It’s Jane Asher top middle!!”
“It makes me think of the Secret Garden”


How amazing is that? All of these magnificent references that people perceive in my drawing, none of which were specifically on my mind whilst I was drawing it. Yet, I know that where I draw and what’s going on around me – both locally and in the world at large – as well as all that has happened beforehand, however long ago, does impact the inspiration I receive, at least subconsciously, from an image whilst I draw it.

Holly and The Ivy alongside Martin’s photograph

Just as a work of literature and its characters mean one thing to the author but invariably evolve in meaning for others when these are publicly shared, clearly some pareidolia drawings are layered enough to provoke a similar response. It’s wonderful feedback for an artist to know how her work is seen objectively. So, to all those who share your insights, it’s much appreciated.


It also seems that pareidolia can be fine-tuned, as in one person’s response to my drawing:


“Looking back at the photo after seeing the drawing, I too can spot the owl on her dress!!”


If you’d like to have a fine art giclée print of Holly and The Ivy or any of my other drawings to contemplate further, just head over to the shop tab at
http://www.hiddencreaturesart.com/shop.

#pareidolia

#TrinityCollegeCambridge

#penandink

#zerotohero

#gicléeprint