Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Gauntlet

There I was 25 feet in the air on my deck and the rain was coming down. It was the Lake of the Ozarks and the Dogwood Festival was in full swing without me. This Shagbark Hickory had caught my eye so what better thing to do when raining than to paint somewhere dry.
It wasn't long before a commotion was going on and some slight whispering was being thrown toward me and the Hickory. It was faint at first and then grew louder. I have learned over the years that it was the trees. The clamor was coming from a nearby Walnut and Oak tree.
By now they were shouting that they were better looking, had smoother lines and was stronger that any old hickory. A question was being hurled as to why I was painting the Shagbark Hickory like it was something special.
Well what could I say and nary did I have a chance to say anything because Mr. Hickory tree interjected with his insults right in the middle of them questioning me.
Minute by minute this grew into a full fledge woodland brawl and I was caught in the middle. I wished I had never come out on this deck to paint.
After their long discussion between them they decided that I should judge who was the best tree in the forest. Since I was an artist they wanted me to paint a picture of each of them and then decide. At this point I wanted to tell them about my ongoing "Tree Troll" series but I didn't dare bring that up!
So I agreed to the competition and judging but with one stipulation. Since I wasn't a fair enough artist they needed to give me a chance to do approximately 500 paintings of their family and then decide from there. Boy, they did not like that and especially when I said there was no time table and I could choose from all the woods in all the country as long it was family.
Well they agreed and I told them that there would be no more fighting because that affects my creative abilities and besides that the creator didn't like it either.
So it got peaceful and I went back to work and here is the end result of the Shagbark Hickory after "The Gauntlet" had been thrown down by Mr Walnut and Mr. Oak tree.
Now some of you may say..."Is he nuts?" but please give your self time and the opening of spirit to connect with nature while out there. I'll guarantee that the voices will come and a oneness will settle over you and nature will show you its most glorious sites, sounds and smell. Have a great time painting.


  1. You're absolutely right, Rick...there's nothing nuts about it. Nature speaks to each of us in a different way, but She DOES speak, and we can hear and respond.

    LOVE your shagbark!

  2. What a wonderful piece! I find the contrast of the hewn wood of your deck and the wild tree somewhat poignant. Your writing brought to mind an old poem I came across on the Internet (where else!), called Battle of the Trees. It's Celtic and quite long, but has some interesting imagery. I had to look it up to see...

    "When the trees were enchanted,
    In the expectation of not being trees,
    The trees uttered their voices
    From strings of harmony,
    The disputes ceased."

    I found the whole thing here:

  3. I can't say thank you enough Elizabeth. This is really great........I have a real love for trees of all kind.

  4. ....and it shows in your paintings...your love of trees. Thanks for making my day!!!


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