Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Langfords as the American Elms


I finally finished this piece today. It's a 27x54 Oil on Linen.

The Langfords have been my friends for around 10 years now. I can't believe it's been that long. We knew each other before we all got married and then after when we all had kids. We each have three girls and engineer husbands. Oh, and we all like blue. Great color. You should see our living rooms.

I can't write enough about the fine people they are. They give of themselves to others and really put the effort into friendship. Yes, that's right. They have three kids. They seem to be at ease with anyone in any place. The most wonderful thing about this family is their faith. It runs deep and comes out in the way they treat others.

So, I've been trying to think what kind of tree would the Langfords be? Sound odd? Well, I guess it is but if you look in the Bible there are many passages that compare nations, people, faith to trees. It's true and got me to thinking what trees are saying about us as human beings.

Mr. Langford comes from Montana and I was tempted to choose the Ponderosa Pine (state tree of Montana) but it seemed to trite and what about the Mrs. and the Miss, Miss, and Miss? It wasn't gonna work. So, I found the Cottonwood to be a great tree but not tall and welcoming enough as they are. Did I mention they are tall? Well, they are. So after some research I came upon the rare but versatile American Elm.

This is why I chose that tree: They grow from Montana to Texas (and into the Eastern parts of the US). They are very tall trees, need good roots and water, have a high tolerance for pollution and are good in the city or country. The American Elm adapts well to different climates, high wind and just as an FYI you can live off of Elm bark and seeds if you are starving. So how does this fit my sweet friends? They have made it possible to stretch themselves from Montana to Texas visiting friends and family with three little girls. They do this faithfully because they love ALL their relatives. They are all tall (yes, even the little girls). They have a great root system in that they spend a great amount of time involved in Church, Bible Study and their own personal time with God. They do well in the country as they are avid campers and yet live in Big D. They adapt to whatever comes their way and have a very lovely way of not letting the world eat away their happiness. I find that many of their friends look to them for companionship and quality time.

On a final note the American Elm is extremely rare as Dutch Elm Disease has taken a toll on this wonderful tree. DED is a fungal disease which has ravaged the American Elm, causing catastrophic die-offs in cities across the range. It has been estimated that only approximately 1 in 100,000 American elm trees is DED-tolerant. You may be wondering what this has to do with the Langfords. I feel they are one from the 100,000 that have stood the test. They are rare in that they have chosen to have a marriage rooted in commitment and God.

In the painting I have the Husband and Wife as the main tree in the foreground and the trunks are entwined as they lean on one another in the work of marriage and family.

The three little girls are staggered behind them, their own beautiful, growing trees.

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