Wednesday, 28 March 2018

We Are Forest sketchbook despatch #2: Beech

I find the roots, especially, of beech trees to be fascinating. The way they writhe and weave and make wonderful patterns on the surface... (this happens because beech has a shallow root system. It seems to help it to thrive on the steep slopes of our local downs, where there is a thin layer of soil over crumbly chalk bedrock, but it can make the trees vulnerable to high winds).

Beech is traditionally thought of as being feminine - perhaps it is the smooth bark and the elegant limbs - or the way that it can make so much (a grand tree, with useful wood) out of so little (the thin soil). Or perhaps it was just that the oak, "king" of the forest, needed a queen of a suitably stately nature.

We Are Forest is now complete (inclusive of beech) and currently on show at Sticks Contemporary in Gosport, Hampshire. It will cease to exist after the exhibition closes on 14 April.

detail from We Are Forest, a collaborative room-sized artwork by Artikinesis

Friday, 16 February 2018

We Are Forest sketchbook despatch #1: Silver birch

  
Bodown Woods, "Pierre noir" pencil
We Are Forest is an Artikinesis project. It's about trees. These sketches were all made "in the field", or, more accurately, in the woods...
Greenham Common, fountain pen
Silver birch is native to the UK. It is a fast-growing tree, often populating heathland and occasionally viewed as a "weed" species. It's an opportunistic tree. Its pale bark and distinctive dark banding make it easy to recognise.