Painting From A Deep Place

I have always loved the Maidenhair tree, ginkgo biloba. Especially in autumn when bright yellow leaves shower down all at once leaving layers of gold at the tree’s base.

It is one of the oldest living trees still growing on the planet and ginkgo fossils over 270 million years old have been found. Charles Darwin coined it a “living fossil.”

In the East, the ginkgo is considered a symbol of longevity, hope, resilience and peace. It was planted and preserved by Chinese Buddhist monks and introduced to Japan around the 9th century. Four ginkgo trees survived the 1945 atomic blast of Hiroshima. Today the trees remain as reminders of hope and peace.

Earlier this month when my mother spent four nights in the hospital, the golden ginkgo trees gracing the hospital parking lot offered comfort and solace as I walked back and forth from car to room and room to car.

So much so, on the morning she was released, I scooped up handfuls of the bright yellow, delicate, fan-shaped leaves and placed them into a plastic bag provided by the hospital intended for one’s possessions. I wanted to take them home with me as if I owned them. No, I wanted them to own me, wanted all they symbolized to course through me. For this to happen…

I would need to paint them…

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.

-Pablo Picasso

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