Saturday, November 5, 2016

Tree #141/10K: The Sacred Oak of Oley Pennsylvania

The Sacred Oak in Oley, PA is a 500-750(?) year old Chinquapin or Yellow Oak (Querus muehlenbergii). It is the holder of as many secrets and stories as the number of acorns that fall from its branches in the autumn. Some of the stories tell of how the local native people went to the tree as a place to pray to the Great Spirit in times of trouble and need. You can read some of these stories on Wikipedia. 

Sitting on a nearby tree stump, I captured a quick watercolor study of part of the tree. I gathered up some leaves that had fallen from its soaring canopy. 

Some leaves have a bit of a wax-like substance called a cuticle on them that makes it hard to get anything to stick to them. Here I am using some containers to hold the leaves down while the acrylic matte medium is drying. While they seemed to stay attached to the page, the medium peeled off of the larger leaves. But I decided to go ahead and paint them anyway.

I worried way to much over the back ground leaves, first painting them one color and them another. I finally just scribbled some Sakura black glaze pen over them and walked away. This is, after all, just a journal page. Speaking of journaling, I wrote on the trunk of the tree instead of adding details to the bark.

I used the Sakura glaze pens on the sky. Still in my Klimt-influenced mood as you can see here. Funny, never had the idea to use geometric shapes for natural backgrounds of sky, land, water, etc., but I'm loving it!

The Sacred Oak in Oley, PA is growing on private property and is open to the public twice a year. This is me at the tree on October 15, 2016. Hundreds of people came to show their respect to the tree. There were elders in wheel chairs, lovers taking their pictures in front of the tree, children running about, and even a Lenapi offering up prayers. The next visitation will be in June 2017. Check the Oley Township website for information.

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