Coral Bark Maple in Fall (36”x54”) by Paula Martiesian
Deep shade fills my backyard. I’ve long since given away the roses and tree peonies that graced past sun-filled gardens. Instead hostas and hydrangeas keep company with a slew of trees – big trees, understory trees, trees I planted and trees that moved in on their own.
But the winter has been tough. Many large limbs came down and some older trees show the unmistakable signs of age and decay. As saddened as I am to say goodbye to old friends, it’s time for me to plant some new trees and I am very, very excited.
For me the act of painting does not start with an idea, it starts with the planting of a tree. I pour over books and email old friends and acquaintances asking for tree advice. Cedar of Lebanon, a favorite tree of my late mother, tops the list. Chinese Witch Hazel, the most optimistic of all trees blooming as it does in late February, is another. Sassafras, a fragrant and forgiving tree, is a suggestion by a RISD friend who is a horticulturalist for the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. It currently sits third on the master list.
I’ve been deliberating all winter and finally (I hope) spring is here. I have a pickaxe, a shovel and all my tree books. It’s time to start digging!