Friday, February 18, 2011

The Willow

6x6, Oil on Canvas

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I finally finished this piece from a long time ago when I did "Weeping Willow Rain."  I never liked it so have had it sitting in the studio for a while (since September).  I finally went back to a blue/green background and started over.

I've always loved Weeping Willow trees.  One of my favorite parts about them is the way they hang a canopy of green around you if you are sitting under one.  I wanted to paint what that felt like with the tips of the leaves lighted by the sun.

On a side note the Weeping Willow is one of the most beautiful trees in the world. It does well in very moist soil (that is why you see them near water). The Weeping Willow comes from Northern China.

There is a Japanese legend that talks about a man who planted a Weeping Willow and took careful care of the tree. It grew to become one of the most beautiful trees in all the land. One night the heart of the tree became a woman and the man fell in love with her (not knowing of course that she was the tree). She took care of the man and was the envy of many husbands. After a long time the Emperor of Japan wanted a new temple built and had heard of the beauty of the tree. He wanted the wood for the new temple. The man was sad to see his beautiful tree chopped down but he relented because he still had his wife. As the villagers chopped down the tree his wife was slowly dying. It was then that he realized his beautiful wife was tied to the beautiful tree and he had lost them both. He wept and wept.

Moral of the story: Don't chop down beautiful trees. Get to know your spouse better.

On a serious note (since it's me) I like to think that envy and greed are the moral of this story. That everyone wanted what this one man had through hard work. The other husbands wanted a beautiful and good wife too but without watering their own gardens! The Emperor wanted a beautiful temple at the price of one of this man's dearest treasures when he had so much already.

Thinking about it through my belief in God: Would a temple to God be honoring to Him if we hurt others to build it? Is there anything I look at that makes me want what he/she has?  Do I compare my spouse, children, possessions with someone else?  All of these are wrong.  The Bible speaks about how our contentment lies with Him not in things or people.  I remind myself of that when I look at my home and it's messy or it seems small.  I remind myself of that when I see a child who is behaving well or excelling at something and mine are not doing that.  I remind myself of that when my husband doesn't say just the right thing at the right time and falls asleep when I wanted to talk.  I remind myself my contentment is in God.

Hebrews 13:5-6 "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?"

I Corinthians 7:17 "Each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him."

1 comment:

  1. I love Willow Trees, they are my Favorite. I love running through them, in and out of the leaves!

    Thank you for the story and the wonderful reminder to be content and rejoice in what God has given us in our lives without being envious of others. I think we always need that reminder.