I have never seen the “Nutcracker” ballet and I am not a mad fan of classical music, but I am enchanted by Tchaikovsky’s music. The first time I heard the “Waltz of the Snowflakes” which is part of the ballet ” The Nutcracker”, the choir actually irritated me! Slowly but surely, I became hooked on it and imagined the snow flurries dancing around carefree and eventually coalescing into a more cohesive dance form which culminates in them being able gain a voice to sing together. I always wanted to try and paint it… The dance part at least. And I have finally did.
I should have called it the “dance of the dots and flowers” because I used tiny dots and flowers to build the painting. Or maybe I should have called it “an ode to Patience”!
Part of the magic when walking through an English deciduous woodland is that you come across remnants of a very old past. These may be ruins or land boundaries such as dry stone walls or soil banks (here known as Devon Banks). All covered in moss, lichens, hedges, or trees. Sometimes the walls or banks have long disappeared, leaving behind the exposed gnarled and sinewy roots of trees that were once planted along them. All is damp, but of a green tint that overwhelms and relaxes at the same time.
In Greek & Roman mythology Actaeon was a huntsman which one fateful day found Artemis (Diana) the goddess of the moon and the chase (hunt) bathing naked with her entourage of naked nymphs in a spring. He may or may not have enjoyed the view (which he likely did). Artemis (Diana) on the other hand was not so impressed, immediately assumed he was a peeping Tom, and promptly transformed the young man into a stag, which was equally promptly killed by her hunting hounds… Well, mythology aside, the drama is always good for painting.
I actually got inspired to paint the stag after reading the book ‘Brendon Chase’, a story about three teen brothers that run away to Brendon Chase woodland to live off the woods. In the book the elder teen dreams of being able to kill the elusive stag that he kept seeing fleetingly throughout his stay in the woods. Sadly, at the end of the book he finally shots this magnificent animal and the meat is eaten on Christmas day. I enjoyed the brothers in the story managing to live successfully of the woods, and indeed respecting the woods, and although there are now too many of us and too little habitat left for such lifestyle to be viable in most countries on Earth, respect for habitat and the way food is produced and consumed is a necessity. There is far too much waste and far too many without food. But it is not too late for reason to prevail.
By the way the myth does not specify if Artemis (Diana) and her entourage enjoyed a venison meal after the incident…
Remember when you were little and the teacher asked if you wanted to be a tree? And you and your school mates were all standing in the classroom pretending to be trees, probably with some already wondering why anybody would want to be a tree…
It is bloody tough being a tree. They stress, they suffer, they grow too tall, too short, have limited or no control of where they grow or their environment, and they get diseased. To add insult to injury they get cloned, messed about, messed up, cut, re-cut, re-shaped, attacked by animals, other plants, machinery, and chemicals (natural and man-made). In summary they get used and abused.
What have the trees ever done for us? Carbon capture, fruit, wood, resin, well being, inspiration, oxygen… (I know what some of you Brits out there are about to say).
It is now known that trees “communicate” with each other and “help” the young, the weak, and the old (here is a lesson for us humans). However, the life and worth of trees is still little understood by the world at large and they always end up at the mercy of humans and their needs, whims, greed, and mistakes.
I am not sure why the three trees on my sketch got cut down but they lived, died, and will get forgotten. Well it is life… But at least they are getting recycled!