Valley Oak Trees: Part 2

I don’t often directly share what inspired a specific piece. I really love letting my viewers get whatever they want to out of my work. Sometimes what people get out of my work is that it’s just beautiful. It makes them happy. And that is good enough for me. 

Occasionally, someone really “gets it.” They’ll explain their interpretation or the feelings they get and it’s exactly what I was going for. Feeling that level of connection and emotional intimacy with a stranger over my own artwork is…incredible. Soul edifying. 

So today, I wanted to let you in on this one. These are oak leaves, specifically from the valley oak tree. They’re a tree endemic to California, where I grew up. These trees have rough bark and gnarled branches. When I was a kid, the branches always reminded me of my grandfather’s twisted arthritic hands. Grandad was a gifted storyteller. His stories ranged from heartfelt to silly, but they almost always had a profound life lesson. 

Now, when I see oak trees, I marvel at their size and age and I wonder: If they told stories like Grandad, what stories would they share? What lessons would I learn? 

This really got me thinking about the concept of time. Valley oaks live for about 600 years. How many literal and figurative seasons have these trees endured? Winters of scarcity and springs of bounty — but every season with its set time and purpose? I wanted to represent that idea visually: Of seasons, intentions, and rhythms of life. 

So: I arranged my leaves as a mostly symmetrical clock. The colors fading from one to the next, to visually represent seasons that also gradually ebb and flow with each other. And explore the idea of time: How can it be both finite and infinite? 

Anyway…I’m really happy with how this piece came out. If you love it, too: Stickers and prints are up in my shop. Shop here

XOXO,

Hannah

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