The Royal Society of British Artists highlights the potent inspiration trees provide for artists in its annual exhibition, 20 to 29 February.
Two clusters of tree images showcase a wide variety of styles, locations and moods, in highlighted sections of the show which overall features more than 500 works on myriad subjects. Trees captivate artists and fascinate the viewer with their life-force, symbolism and extraordinary architectural variety and beauty.
Some works featured are portraits of individual trees, such as Mark Welland’s Reach for the Sky II, which is part of a series commemorating a 300-year-old oak tree finally felled by storm Katie in 2016; other scenes show woodlands, trees on the horizon or trees in the garden offering shelter on a sunny day.
Mark Welland Reach for the Sky II Mixed media, 21 x 21 cm, £625
Urban life also features. Melissa Scott-Miller RBA RP NEAC, known for depicting London’s streets, says of the capital’s trees: “In London the trees are often restricted by the buildings and paving slabs, but they have still kept going, their branches making beautiful patterns and shapes, the lichen on the bark has spread on to the rooftops and brickwork, in summer the canopy of leaves produce areas of shade, and they are a haven for wildlife, birds, squirrels, even domestic cats; the changes of colour and shape they display through the seasons lift the spirits, trees are essential to city living!”
Melissa Scott-Miller RP NEAC RBA September Roses in Gibson Square, Islington Oil, 51 x 77 cm, £2,500
Environmental themes emerge strongly. While many of these paintings of trees suggest at themes of longevity, ideas of mortality and the fragility of the environment are never far away. Gary Cook’s watercolour 1058: Melbury Beacon No 8 stands as a record of the 1,058 UK species associated with ash trees, ranging from beetles to birds, lichens to mammals. Some of these species are written into the background. All will be affected when we lose up to 90% of the UK’s 70 million ash trees from dieback disease. Of the 1,058 species, 40 of them live only on ash trees. The Centre Barred Sallow moth is one of those 40. Research is ongoing into replanting these trees with ash bred with tolerance to the infection.
Gary Cook 1058: Melbury Beacon No. 8 Watercolour & charcoal, 28 x 39 cm, £675
Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA suggests we should all try our hand at drawing trees: “Trees are great to draw and as long as they get thinner as they go up and the branches get skinnier as they reach out, then even the simplest scribble can be a tree."
Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA Tumbling Stream Oil, 73 x 73 cm, £1,750
Alongside the exhibition, member artists will be demonstrating their techniques and there are a number of opportunities to join in; including a free drawing session where you will be serenaded by Classical Harpist Eleanor Dunsdon.
David Brammeld RBA PS will be demonstrating his techniques for creating Treescapes in Graphite from 1pm on Saturday 22 February
David Brammeld RBA PS Two Tall Trees, Late Spring Acrylic, 38 x 55 cm, £950
Scroll down for some more paintings of trees!
Chris Aggs RBA Apple Blossom Oil, 27.5 x 24.5 cm, £620
Rachel Arif Fired Earth Oil, 40 x 40 cm, £850
Annie Boisseau RBA Twilight, Osterley Park Oil, 44 x 50 cm, £875
Olwyn Bowey Hon RBA RA Fallen Trees Oil, 70 x 80 cm, £2,000