After completing my last Dharma piece I decided I wanted to continue with the trees. I love trees, I really, really do, and have always struggled to capture their detail and beauty when I've tried drawing them. In fact, I generally dislike the trees I draw. I just feel they're flat and lacking in everything I admire and love about a tree, especially an old gnarled tree with years of regrowth and the odd disease that adds character and depth to the bark and twisting branches.
I decided to do the last piece while I was sitting in meditation. I've recently started sitting for a half hour each time, at least twice a day. So I was sitting there, following the breath, labelling thoughts as thoughts, that whole thing - and suddenly I just saw this Bodhi tree in my mind and I saw all the lines of the detail.
Now, you may have noticed that my art doesn't generally entail a lot of intricate detail. I really admire art that does and have often wanted to create something with such fine lines - but I've found it comes across as forced and then I lose the pleasure for what I'm doing.
I feel like I could draw the lines of trees forever. It's almost addictive. Like, I'm creating the character and richness of the surface of something that's been standing for decades, possibly even hundreds or potentially thousands of years.
I met a 3,000 year old tree in Japan. It was impressive and humbling. It makes me think of the wonderful teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh about seeing the entire universe in a tree. Without the sun, there is no tree. Without the clouds there is no rain, so there is no tree. Without the earth, the minerals in it, there is no tree.
It's a beautiful example of interconnectedness, interdependence. Very suitable for my Dharma series.