My first major project at Three Graces was the defination of the dinning area. The Living room, Dinning area and Kitchen are all in one big open space and so I wanted to create a way to more clearly delinate one area from the others. When I was watching my all time favorite movie "Gone With the Wind" I was so inspired by the screen shoots of these vivid sunsets and then the silhouettes of Scarlett and Rhett/ Ashley and a huge large oak tree. When she returns to Tara after the war, that same oak tree is seen in silhouette again with Scarlett, but this time around the tree had lost all of it's leaves and was scraggly and Scarlett had lost her gorgeous flowing dress and was in rags. Further inspiration came from the artist Kara Walker, who I am sure was also inspired by this classic ante & post bellum film's use of silhouettes. She had a recent exhibition at the Whitney. She manages to convey such depth with the starkest and most simple of silhouettes. I wanted something similar.
I took two days off of work to give me a nice long weekend to work on this project. I was hesitant at frst, but after i put down the first pencil marks the feeling of drawing on a wall was so liberating. I found myself reconnecting with my artistic self, something I hadn't done in a long time. I went to a Fine Arts High School, so I did a lot of painting and sculpture. In college I did printmaking and book binding. It had been a while since I had drawn or painted anything and I had never done anything to this scale. I started out with trying to just outline the silhouette of the tree. That proved too difficult. I ended up just drawing the tree, with perspective, shading and all. It was much easier for me to visualize the mass and volume of the tree. It also allowed me to make sure that the proportions were correct and that it looked at least somewhat realistic.
My aim was to create a tree in this corner that would envelope the dinning table and four chairs. I imagined a tree that was growing at the edge of a ravine, maybe somewhere on the grounds of Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff and Catherine had often sat there and looked over the rocky wind-swept landscape. Bent and knarled, I wanted a tree that was somewhere between life and death. I wanted it to be ambiguous as to whether it was a tree in winter, a tree about to bloom, or tree that had long since been dead and would soon tumble off the cliff.
Above are some pictures of my intial sketches. I tend to drag my hand as I draw therefore smudging a lot - the walls became pretty dirty. I had a great time, listening to good music, having a beer and drawing on the pristine white walls. It was one of the most relaxing days I have had in a long time.