The First Conversation with Trees using Art : I meet the first two of the four sisters

To be honest, I can’t remember the first thought, the moment I noticed the impulse or felt the call to research.

I do remember that one beautiful late summer day in 2011. I had unstructured time and I went outside with a large watercolour pad and my Inktense pencils. The Inktense pencils have a unique combination of qualities. They are portable. All that is needed is a bit of water and a brush. The pencil marks dissolve into vibrant inks that are permanent when dry. Once dry, I can go back onto the page and add more. This could go on indefinitely layering the transparent colour creating a luminous rich deep array of colours.

My first tree conversation occurred with one of four large Silver Maples that grew in a row beside the pond. I chose the one closest to the house. I took a little camping chair that allowed me to sit on the ground leaning against the tree with my back and it supported my knees and back. I set up my pencils and water next to me and began a meditation.

I grounded myself and then opened towards the tree. I invited the tree to direct me as to what to place on the page. I had a ‘feeling’ to place a certain colour and shape which I did, then I wetted it and while it dried I returned to my meditation again listening in a questioning space – receptive to what the tree would “show” me to put onto the page. Then I would fulfill the “wish” or imagination of the tree. I was using my hands and eyes to fulfill the tree’s indications. I was careful to hold back my artist’s gaze on what was developing. It was almost as if I didn’t “see” what was growing and developing on the page. I did this for an hour or more. Towards the end there was an addition “requested” a clear ‘intrusion’ or ‘presence’ so at the very end I added the dark brown figures at the bottom.

Then I looked carefully at what was on the page. It was not like anything “I” would do and yet my hand/style was recognizable at the same time. What was it that had taken place, what did this sense-perceptible visual ‘picture’ describe? What had occurred? I decided to do the same process with the adjacent tree – one of what I came to call the Four Sisters. I introduced myself to this next tree which involved grounding – becoming present in my heart and asking permission to enter and also offering to be entered. The tree might prefer to be brought inside of my body rather than have me “enter” his/her body. It has been clear to me that trees do have qualities that can feel more masculine or more feminine. These four, as their pet name suggests, had a feminine quality.

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