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  • Writer's pictureTodd Wolfe

The Art Tree

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

We all know about family trees. Grandchildren. Children. Us. Parents. Grand-parents. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. And on and on it goes. It shows the lineage of a person. Where they came from and who came from them.

Art is like that. Art is all about ideas, concepts, representations. But none of these truly stand alone. Even if we are unaware of the relationships between the art we are seeing or making to the lineage that has gone before, it is still there.

In the fall of 2021 when the ideas of canvas art came upon me, I was in a real sense planting a seed in the fertile ground of creativity. The seed was called “how can I break the flat plane of the canvas?” That seedling has taken root and it currently in a state of fertile growth. Even morning when I sit and meditate over the ideas of that young seedling and another idea comes to me and gets sketched into my journal, another branch is created. Every once in a while, it is a main branch that comes off the trunk of “How can I break the flat plane of the canvas?” But usually it is simply another twig that has been added onto a previous branch.

Because of the limits of time and space, not every one of these ideas can be tended to. Many of these will simply be static twigs on the end of a branch. They won’t lead anywhere. They may never get made. They may never spawn new ideas, more twigs.

But then there are those twigs, those ideas that beg to have life breathed into them and cannot help but spawn new life out of them. If they are tended to, they will grow, multiply, flourish. When I say tended to, I mean that the artist tends to them, intentionally, through thought, manipulation, creation, discussion, refinement. The artist spends time with that idea…loving it, stretching it, forming it, discovering it. There is a saying in the gardening world that the best fertilizer of for a garden is the feet of the gardener. So it is with art. The best fertilizer for the art tree, is the time and attention given to it by the artist.

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