Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Visit with a Magician:

I know it may sound preposterous to write "This afternoon I visited an old friend who became a magician and who lives in an enchanted forest." - but there it is. With magic you have to be careful not to show everything right off the bat, so I'm going to portion out the images.

It seems a particular honor to have a magician with an enchanted forest collect your paintings. One of the reasons for my visit was to get a photograph of a painting that I did in my late teens of the ancient white oak that stood near my father's homeplace. It was one of the largest oaks I've ever seen, with limbs bigger than most trees. Since that oak is a thing of much interest in the new piece I'm working on, (There's a photo of my grandfather standing under it.) - I started thinking and realized that the painting I did of it in my teens is actually the only complete image of the tree. Even with a large canvas, painted from the midst of the field on the west side of the tree, looking up toward the top of Dutton Hill, the outer branches couldn't be entirely fitted in. This amazing tree, with a hollow large enough to sit inside, stood there through the Civil War. After the homeplace was sold, the developer pushed the tree down and buried it with a bulldozer.
Sad day.



The other paintings, and a carved & glazed porcelain plate, are also from my late teens.





11 comments:

Tari said...

I thought that the Dutton cedar was amazing,but that oak tree takes the cake! So very beautiful,did you ever climb it? It looks like it might have been easy to do it. It kills me that they bulldozed it. I miss you both,we need to come for a visit and a long walk soon. And i cannot wait to hear more about the magician!

Dan Dutton said...

I hope that you can come while the fall flowers are still in bloom - it's very pretty here just now. & mellow...

I'll post pix of the enchanted forest soon. It was very impressive!

Dan Dutton said...

The oak took six people holding hands to circle the trunk! I did climb it. You could climb onto a branch out where they dipped close to the ground, then walk up the lower branches like a boardwalk!

Nancy said...

The painting of the oak is very beautiful as well. Both of theses landscapes I love.

Dan Dutton said...

The light in that room wasn't great for taking a pic of the oak painting - but I'll go back and make a better image. I think the canvas is about 3' x 5'.
At the time that I painted it I really could not imagine that the oak would ever be gone! In my mind it was one with the Dutton family.

Like so many things, if only I'd envisioned its dissappearance, I would have documented it in greater detail. Still, I'm glad that I did feel at the time the importance of this tree in my own story, enough so to lug a big canvas over to that field & spend an afternoon painting it. (I carried it across the bottoms, over Dry Branch, and up the Hill - about 1 mile I think.) This was my 2nd large painting of a tree.

Kim said...

The white flower is mesmerizing and the phoenix is fantastic! That's exactly what I thought a phoenix should look like.

Dan Dutton said...

The white flower is actually based on a small fungus, a type of puffball called an earthstar. (& that's the title of that one - Earthstar.) There's a story that they come up on the spots where shooting stars contact the earth, so that, and their beautiful form, made them a special subject for me. I've done a number of paintings & drawings of them. Hm... I'll post some of those...

I flattened the shape in this painting to make it more of a design (the stylized blackberry briars around the edges are the best part, I think.) & cut away the center to look through into a night sky - so this is an early illustration of an imaginary portal too.

The spores of earthstars are a little like gunpowder - exploding (perhaps a lingering quality of their mythic origin...) into sparkles when ignited.

Kim said...

I also must add that the clouds in the landscape are amazing.

Dan Dutton said...

Thanks! That is one of my favorite cloud/light/color combos in a landscape too. I remember at the time being very concerned with getting the color harmony just so.

Alan Evil said...

Dad measured that oak tree back in the 70's (I think) and it was the 2nd biggest oak (by circumference of the limbs)in the country. If it hadn't lost one of its enormous limbs (each of which would have been a huge tree on its own) it may have been the largest. When I was about 8 I could stand inside it.

Dan Dutton said...

In the painting you can see that one of the limbs, on the left, is partially broken, but still living and attached. I remember when your dad measured it. He estimated at the time that it was at least 400 yrs old.

That oak is one of the markers in the new piece I'm working on - I'm going to situate the Hill in geologic time, (some millions of yrs to form the limestone) then narrow in with the lifespan of the oak - then narrower still to the life of Pete.