Community Art Highlight – Aspen & Birch Tree Art
We hope you’ve taken some time to page through our Community Art Showcase, which is quickly becoming the beating heart of Art Force Academy. It’s where artist entrepreneurs working with Art Force have a chance to showcase their work! It not only supports our mission to uplift artist entrepreneurs, but it provides the means for driving Art Force MSP through artwork sales. What’s not to like?
Deep within our Community Art Showcase, you will find some wonderful little rabbit holes. These are places where different artists worked with similar subject matter to give us a solid body of work to share with our audience. In fact, there is so much in there, we’ve decided to begin sharing art from across the showcase by subject matter. Truth be told, this post has been moved from SmartArtProgram.com to this website as we slowly blend the sites into a single force for driving the creative economy forward.
What’s the Biggest Organism on Earth?
We start this post with a bit of trivia. What is the largest living organism on Earth? Before you jump to the Blue Whale, think for just a second and another idea might take root. Indeed, the correct answer is the Quaking Aspen. See what we did there?
As detailed on Loe.org, the largest quaking aspen covers 106 acres in Utah, weighing over 6,000 metric tonnes. Connected at the roots, the quaking aspen is indeed a giant in the plant and animal kingdom. But was does this have to do with art? Like it’s natural forbearer, the aspen is a giant in the art world. Birch and aspen trees have made an indelible mark on the artistic community and almost like the organism itself, it serves as a metaphor for the importance of artists finding strength in numbers and community. The familiar white-barked trees are a staple for both fine art and reproduction images. As glowing beauties during fall – commonly dusty orange or bright yellow – their story of interconnectedness offers a compelling metaphor.
Birch Tree Art
While birch and aspens are indeed different trees, we challenge you to tell the difference between the two as you page through just a sampling of our selection. We could have chosen just one or the other, but where’s the fun in that? Note: the primary differences between a birch and an aspen tree are vast, despite their clear similarities. In fact, according to Reference.com:
“Birch trees and aspen trees have a similar appearance, but possess significant differences, specifically in their leaves, buds, bark and abilities to tolerate extreme climates.”
Representation Aspen and Birch Tree Art
As always, our journey begins with representation art. Representation art is common from the natural world as it’s easy for artists to find their muse in the plain beauty of nature. Many artists take these ideas a step further with abstractions or unnaturally bold colors, but at the end of the day they are all painting to the same point – that nature is beautiful.
Notice the contrast between Van Sickle’s Birch and Colbert’s Birch Shoreline below. As we mentioned in the river post, color has a major impact on the ideas and feelings artwork projects. While the familiar intensity of autumn is absent in this piece, we are instead greeted with a tranquil environment of blues and greens. This type of art is popular for use in healthcare facilities, as blue-green environments and nature images have been linked to calming effects.
In this depiction of birch tree art, the title gives it away. But what’s interesting about this piece is the use of a greyer coloring on the bark to contrast the fiery orange above. Birch trees can in fact have grey bark, which is one of the major differences from aspens. This piece summons passion – a solar flare of feeling – as orange boldness leaps off the canvas. With trees from end to end, the viewer is also enthralled and captured in a moment without horizon, rivers, or mountain peaks to be seen.
Chilly Sentinels (Birches) by Erin Babcock White was placed third in this series to draw the contrast of seasons. While much is up for interpretation, one might rightfully believe these three work together to show the progression of the seasons. From blue-green summer and fiery autumn, winter brings the nakedness of the first frost and a more tamed pallet. Babcock White captures something special here – taking the cooler colors of winter and creating exciting and expressive texture with shadow, moss, and layered fog.
Here you get a little bit of two feelings at once. The complimentary clash of colors gives this piece depth while the streaking shadows add mystery to the forest around the trees. The depth of color on the leaves also provide shimmer, bringing the piece to life and giving the viewer a sense of captivation. Caught in a moment of quiet reflection, you can almost hear the leaves rustle in this piece of birch tree art.
In Aspen Forest, we see more depth of overlapping rows of trees than in the pieces before. This is an earmark of aspens, being a single organism or sometimes, clusters of sibling organisms. In either case, aspens cluster closely together like the hairs on your head. Somewhere off in the distance, Kenarov also adds some darkness to the forest to effectively create more depth.
We selected Sievers Seasons as a segue to abstract art. The line thickness and perspective seem to verge on abstraction, bridging the two art families together. Notice how Sievers draws the eyes upward in this piece. If this painting was large enough, you just might be tempted to crane you neck back to see more, the perspective is so convincing.
Abstract Birch and Aspen Art
In Blue Moon by Melissa Graves-Brown, we are left to wonder if we’re looking at aspens or birch trees. Given the color of the leaves, this writer would have to guess aspens. But at the end of the day – or night for that matter – the point seems moot. This painting gives off an extremely ethereal quality, which is the real subject of discussion. As the leaves swarm to the sky in an aura of yellow, one has to wonder if they are being drawn to the moon or are caught in a cool breeze.
In Birch Walk by Lonnie Broden, there is no doubt we are in the thick of abstraction. This mixed media piece brings birches into a dream-state, where the natural fluidity of nature collides with hard ninety degree angles and square shapes. While this piece is out of focus, it is not disorienting but rather, quite simply perplexing. What are the trees trying to tell us about space and perception?
The aptly named Exuberance by Robert Moore shows brush stroke detail that in places, borders on the effect of mosaic. With each unit of color, texture is created to give the painting a large amount detail. Here we also get a strong dose of familiar autumnal colors, giving the presence of a warm hearth and other autumn smells in the faint echoes of memory.
This abstract piece hits the nail on the head with its title. Before reading it, one might have named it something similar to Autumn Fireworks. Here is where your art can speak beyond the direct subject and get into starting a conversation. That is half the fun with abstract art, allowing the viewer to tell their own story.
In this stunning piece, affinities are drawn with Peter Colbert’s Birch Shoreline above. Both pieces capture the tall, solemn posture of birch and aspen trees. Again the yellow leaves suggest aspen, but that is for interpretation. In either case, the viewer is left to wonder if it’s aspen or birch at all, absent the black scars on white bark. While this is categorized as abstract art in the SmartArt database, an argument could be made for the piece verging on representational art.
We get a glimpse of trees on water in Ford Smith’s Natural Muse. With five distinct layers, this piece calls upon the intimate vastness of nature. Intimate, as the trees still quarter you into the scene, yet vast as you can see beyond into the long reaches of the wilderness.
Aspen and Birch Photography Art
We are thrown into the thick of it with Christopher Burkett’s Aspen Grove, Colorado. For anyone who has visited this region of the country, aspens have a prolific grip on the landscape. In matchstick rows, it’s not uncommon to see acres upon acres of rolling yellow and white aspens.
As anyone knows, a big part of the appeal of aspens and birch trees is their autumn wardrobe. Gilded in yellow and orange, they are a welcome addition to the landscape. With Autumn Trees, Kathleen Cook provides a panoramic view of one of these breathtaking scenes. The piece inspires optimism with warm tones and the perception of rich soil in those soft, gentle moments during the peak of fall.
Steve Schneider introduces an interesting depth of field with Birch. Rather than focusing the camera on the shadowy trees in the foreground, he selectively places the focal point in the sunbathed background. The blurring leaves show motion; the flicker of autumn wind. When you deeply consider the piece contrast is most noticeable, providing ample metaphors for the viewer to suggest.
This piece has a pastoral spirit, where elements of human society and nature comingle. With many layers, you can appreciate the natural colors of this piece as autumn begins to fade and the leaves lose their intensity, giving way to chalkier color tones.
We end our tour with Jerry Wiese’s Birches, North of Stillwater. The vibrancy of this piece reminds us of the return of blue-green color schemes in the shift to summer. Winter is over, a new lifecycle is born and the eternal ebb and flow of the aspen and birch lifecycle is reborn.
A Tale of Two Trees
Looking for defining marks of the sublime beauty of nature, it’s no wonder why birch and aspens make the cut for creatives.
Whether it is the little black notches on their bark, so often reminiscent of little discerning eyes, or their tendency to cluster together, they’ve made cameos and leading roles in countless paintings, sculptures and beyond. Hopefully this small sampling of birch and aspen art provided you with the inspiration you need to make an artwork selection when the time comes.