Valley Oak Trees: Part 1

What do you think the world will look like 600 years from now?

I’m talking year 2622.

I can’t begin to fathom it. 600 years prior to now was 1422. That’s a full 70 years before Christopher Columbus set sale for the Americas.

But 600 years is the potential lifespan of the valley oak tree — those are the leaves I’ve painted here. Imagine the stories these trees could tell if they could talk!

If you’ve ever seen photos of Northern California — think the rolling golden hills outside of San Francisco — these are the trees that dot the landscape. Presumably, most of the trees have seen California evolve from native lands to colonization by the Spaniards, Mexican reign, and eventual take over by the United States and the accompanying gold rush.

This tree’s ability to age — and all the potential things it has stood witness to — is what inspired me to create this particular composition with the leaves. I wanted imagery that would evoke the passing of time and seasons of life. The leaves are arranged in a circular, semi-circular composition to evoke the feeling of a clock. The colors transform from light green to an orangey-brown, as inspired by the leaves changing in seasons from spring to fall.

Endemic to California, these trees not only live a long time, they’re also the largest North American oak species — eventually approaching 100 feet in height! For reference, that’s about as tall as a 10-story building.

If you planted one today, it could potentially live to see the year 2622! It’s hard to imagine all the history that will take place between now and then, but hopefully, these trees will be there to witness.

A lot of that, of course, will depend on how well we preserve the environment in the coming years. I hope we’ll be able to keep valley oak trees around for centuries to come.

I can’t wait to get prints and stickers of this composition out to you! Stay tuned for more info about preorders!



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