Thursday, January 19, 2012

Witness Trees

I sketched at Chatham Manor in Stafford Co., VA, on Saturday and was fascinated by these two, very old Catawba trees. In case you can't read my text with the sketch, it says: "These gnarly old Catawba trees were alive during the Civil war. Chatham was used as a hospital and these two venerable old trees stood just outside the surgery. As limbs were amputated, they were tossed out the window to land at the base of these trees. Walt Whitman visited (during the war) and wrote that the pile of human limbs would fill an oxcart."   Barely standing, full of holes, and rotting from the inside, the trees are propped up with steel bars (I didn't draw them) and in danger of disappearing altogether. I felt compelled to be witness to the witness trees.

I also sketched this little statue in the garden at Chatham. It stands about 4 feet tall from top to the bottom of the base. Both of these sketches were done very quickly because it was 40 degrees F. and my fingers didn't want to work properly.


  1. How moving and beautiful. A treasure for your sketchbook.

  2. Those trees have seen humanity in some of our worse moments. What they must think of us.
    Touching story, good drawings.

  3. Beautiful sketch. I love the placement of the drawing and how the words wrap around it.


We'd love to hear from you, your questions, comments, observations! Please feel free to comment, feedback is important to us.