Thursday, March 13, 2014

Tree of Life

TREE OF LIFE, acrylic mixed media 12" x 12" on a 2" deep, cradled panel 

Last year, our daughter commented on how her five-year-old daughter already has quite the collection of my mixed media paintings. As well, wasn't my gift of The Eye of Ra (for their wedding anniversary) really for her husband? Point taken. For Denise's birthday, I knew what I had to do.

Concepts alluded me until Bill's suggestion of something Celtic ignited a spark. Finding the tree of life (on the Internet) resonated with me. Slowly, gradually, further ideas percolated and other elements came to mind.

I cut, pasted, further drew on and adapted the Internet image on the left until it became the tree on the right

Satisfied with the altered black and white tree, I had a laser photocopy made of it. This was used as a direct transfer by securing the image, face down with Golden gel gloss medium, onto my painted green panel. It had to dry, weighted, overnight. In the morning, using a spray bottle of water, I spritzed the back of the page and began the slow process of carefully scrubbing away the paper so as to leave only the black ink ...

Being too heavy handed with the scrubbie, the ink - as well as the paper - will come away!

Almost done!

My friend, Win, was visiting and she coached me though this tedious procedure ...

From my last post, you may remember this image, of Win and me in The Anne Frank Room

STONEHENGE  1992 watercolour 14" x 21" 

Above is a painting I had the foresight to keep. For this project, I took it out of its frame (pre-digital) to photograph it, reduced it to a miniature size and had it photocopied onto vellum paper. I cut away the sky before securing it to the painting ...

Sometimes, I get the call to start painting even before getting dressed in the morning! 

To balance Stonehenge, I painted on some ivy and brought back a little light to the left side of the tree trunk ...

Here I have laid the earring, where it will go, over the "underground knot"

The underworld in progress

I wanted to show the roots, in the underworld, as alive and pulsating, but at the stage above they looked to be on fire, so worked the area further, toning it down.

Into some heavy plastic, I hand cut a stencil for the 
Celtic knots in the upper corners and used molding paste so they would be in relief. When they dried, I painted over them using the background colour, a mix of Sap Green and Duochrome Oceania - a Daniel Smith Luminescent acrylic.


The brass and copper embellishment is one of a pair of earrings I purchased years ago, long before I knew what they represented. (The remaining one will become a pendant.) On a trip to England, in 2004, we visited, Glastonbury. There, I found my earring motif on a postcard announcing it as the lid to the Chalice Well. We sought out and found the little park which houses the well ... but to my dismay the lid was off and away for restoration!

Chalice Well, Glastonbury

Gifting the Tree of Life, March 7th

Last weekend, to celebrate Denise's 39th birthday, we joined her, Larry and Avery at their Canmore condo for a couple of days.

I'm especially proud of Bill for creating his superlative gift to Denise. 
I'm delighted to report that it outshone my own. There it is on the mantle below. It deserves, and will have, a post of it's own ... 


  1. WOW!!! That is exquisite! Very nicely done momma. I'm sure that Denise loves it.

    1. Many thanks, Sharlene!
      I'm loving the direction this mixed media is taking me!

  2. Love the story, love the concept, and love the painting. I'll look forward to your post about Bill's cigar box as well, since I enjoyed seeing the beginnings of it too. Lucky, lucky Denise all around.

    1. It all came together all right in the end, didn't it?
      Thanks for being here for the transfer, the testy part. You kept me on track curbing my impatience!

  3. I'd love a copy, are going to print copies for sale? Please!

    1. I wasn't thinking of printing this, Maggie, but thanks for asking!

  4. Magical, mystical, wonder-filled! Thanks for sharing the journey, Alice, and I love your beaming faces at the gifting!! What a treasure! :-)

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment so supportively!

  5. Bravo, Alice, both for the picture and the technology. Gee, one might even get the impression that you were one of them-there Pagans or Wiccans or sump'n.
    All the Best,
    Ted MacGillivray

    1. Thanks!
      And I'm proudly, all of the above, Ted!
      Wishing you and The Other Alice, well!

  6. Very beautiful. Loved reading about how it all came together! The bit of story telling and how it tied in with your trip makes the painting that more special for both of you.

  7. Thanks, Colleen. It's a painting with many levels of life, and understanding. I don't think either Denise nor I fully understand it all ... yet!

  8. Well like your tree your branchs will spread, your roots will get deeper and you will become bigger stronger and shelter more of life and lives

    1. Yes, Colleen. You've written that so eloquently. Thanks.