Coping with Depression, Life, My Creations, My Life in Watercolor

Obsessing over trees as my painting subject

red lauan tree watercolor art
Watercolor art: red lauan tree leaves and seed that I learned through EDC Binhi watercolor workshop.

When I was young, trees used to terrify me. My grandparents and aunts would tell me stories about mythical creatures. Some of these mythical creatures live in trees especially old ones, I was told.. And if we hurt each tree, the mythical creatures go after us. God know how many times I used to have nightmares of trees clawing its branches at me. After participating in several tree planting activities, I consider myself a tree hugger now.

As silly as those stories seem to me now, the respect (and perhaps reverence) for trees stayed with me. To this day, I would never allow my kids to trample over plants. I would ask them to never hurl a rock towards any living creature especially trees. While I did not tell them the stories told me by my elderlies, I did have to explain that trees may have feelings too. I’m no expert but science suggests that tree do feel.

Still, I didn’t see trees the way I notice them now. It’s the recent love for art that makes me want to study how the light play around the trees. Of how trees seem to flirt with the wind. Of how the shadows shift around them. I also generally enjoy watching how they vary in color and density – how the weather affects them. One recent fascinating experience I had was when kapok trees released their cotton in UP campus and the scene was like snow falling around me – except I’m in the country and the sun was scorching hot on my skin. I also enjoyed looking at golden shower trees in the campus last month – they were in full bloom. Right now, the fire trees are also in full bloom now. There are also plenty of narra trees in my neighborhood. All these trees I painted on my watercolor paper (see slideshow at the end of this blog).

“I look at trees now too as symbols of fervent prayers and hope!”

by myself

When I look up to the sky, I’m always glad that trees are there to block my view. It’s as if the trees are filtering my prayers before they reach to God (let alone filtering the heat of the sun from reaching me). That trees want to make my fervent pleas more pleasing to the cosmos’ ears. Now that the world is under the pandemic, with war and violence happening in some parts around it, it’s easy to forget the good things and be anxious and sad.

Trees are symbol of hope because they grow around me despite the massive encroachment of urbanization.

by myself

Even when no one planted their seeds, trees find ways to spread and grow. It’s that main characteristic of a tree that I find inspiring. Trees motivate me to be resilient and courageous. Trees remind me to stay grounded especially when things become so challenging. And while I am by no means good at painting them, I will continue to study them to improve the way I paint them. Below is a slideshow of trees that I have painted so far as newbie watercolor enthusiasts. Enjoy!

cherry blossom trees in gouache
Cherry blossom trees in gouache – a friend bought this one.

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