The Tree of Life © Sue Wookey
OK - I know this is a bit ambitious, but I had this sudden idea (one of those challenging inspirational flashes) of combining all the Trees I'd painted into One Tree. As soon as I had the idea I could see it complete, but working it out on paper was another matter! Sometimes the Muse can be very tricksy.
The Trees I've painted have all followed a progression. Many years ago I fell in love with a photo I saw of an 17th century Indian Chola bronze of the Tree of Life. The stylised shape haunted me and I did a painting inspired by it:
Indian Tree © Sue Wookey
The Indian Tree of Life and Knowledge © Sue Wookey
My next Tree was a development of this seemingly simple image into a more realistic looking Tree which I called Balance, showing the balance of opposites held in harmony. A Yin Yang where something can only be truly known in relation to its counterpoint: light/dark, sun/moon, up/down, good/bad. Without the counterpoint nothing can really exist because it cannot be held in relation to anything. Understood and held in balance these forces bring wisdom.
Balance © Sue Wookey
Balance can be seen as the second Tree in the new painting above. The third Tree is based on The Golden Seed, the Tree bearing fruit. In the Golden Seed, the fruit is shown as Suns and Moons. In my new painting I've shown it as Golden Apples. I could write a whole book on Apple symbolism! This is the Tree bearing life. Told you this was ambitious!
The Golden Seed © Sue Wookey
The final Tree is based on the World Tree, our manifest world and the most realistic Tree in the painting. The trunks of all four trees are contained one inside another and all the Trees progress outwards from the centre of the painting in a series of circles or worlds, from the Source to our cosmos. I have another Tree, the Cosmic Tree of Life, but I decided I'd put in enough Trees for one painting! Art would be so much easier if I stopped trying to paint Life, the Universe and Everything, but these Trees will keep pushing their way into the light and I am sure there are more Trees to come - though I'm really not sure where one goes from here!
World Tree © Sue Wookey