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This Ponderosa Pine completely blew my mind during the retreat. I walked past it everyday and I was concerned it was in trouble because there was a rope fence around it. Turns out it was fenced in because everyday, we made an offering of food and rice to it that was dumped at its base. The thing was clearly a grandfather looking after us, and I got the feeling it enjoyed its role. I feel like this tree will have bionic powers with all those offerings. Did you know that the trunks of Ponderosa Pines smell like butterscotch when they’re baking in the sun? It’s amazing. They really smell sweet.
I had to draw it, so I took some pictures, but there were so many needles! Luckily when I got home, I discovered a great tool in illustrator where you can spray a symbol out of a virtual spray can. There are all these stock symbols of coffee cups with little steam swirls, and traffic signals, etc. but I built a customized cluster of pine needles as my symbol and then changed its scale and color three times to produce this layered look. Then I sprayed away. It took me some time to figure out how to erase misplaced needles, but eventually I got the hang of it (you just hit the alt key while spraying). There will be more trees like this to come. Some deciduous as well, I love sycamores, but I’ve never had the patience to draw leaves or pine needles before. I like how this tree has a certain realist presence, but when you’re up close you can see how stylized and illustrative it really is. There are only four colors total, and the final piece is 11×14, so the needles are quite detailed up close. Be sure to click on it to the flickr link where you can see it a little bigger. I hope to screen print this one for sure.
I wish the pizzas weren’t called Ponderosa.