SCRIPTURE TREE PROJECT
Since many of us live or work primarily in cities, we forget that trees once served a more significant role in our existence. From scripture we learn that God used trees to provide his people with shelter, protection, and food, as well as resources for energy, weaponry, construction, and medicine.
We still rely on trees. Trees supply food, mark seasons, clean the air, provide oxygen, cool streets and cities, shield us from ultraviolet rays, conserve energy, save water, and help prevent water pollution and soil erosion. Studies have even showed that the presence of trees can reduce violence. Trees are such powerful visual images of growth, decay, and resurrection that hardly any culture has not endowed them with symbolism and otherworldly influence.
I have found 116 references to trees in the Old and New Testaments, and I was intrigued and challenged to look at them metaphorically, illustratively, and tangibly. I have also looked for references to bushes, shrubs, or branches that were critical to telling God’s story, such as Moses and the burning bush, the dove bringing back a branch to Noah, and the stump of Jesse.
Using these tree verses to retell the story of salvation, these paintings seek to encourage prayerful reflection and response to God’s story. The paintings here are a selection from a larger work which I aim to publish as a contemplative book about trees in scripture. The book will include 52 visual interpretations of tree verses with written responses to each from writers, theologians, clergy, scientists, activists and educators.
This has been an inspirational spiritual journey for me and I hope that it will enrich others also.
All works are produced on wood panels using watercolour, ink, graphite, and ultraviolet varnish and framed with up-cycled wood.