"Tree of Protection" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord
I finished this 12x12 today after a few weeks of trying to just keep it loose with some "tight" elements worked in.
It is so hard to do C.S. Lewis justice. I think if I thought about it too much I wouldn't even try! But I can truthfully say that his works have helped shape my life. The Narnia series comes alive for me in deeper ways as I get older and as I share them with my own little girls. Aslan seems so much sweeter and dearer to me and I find myself longing for that Magical World where I can explore "farther up and further in."
In Lewis' work, The Magicians Nephew we are given a background story for Narnia, the Wardrobe and the Professor that the children (Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy) come to stay with in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Digory (the Professor as a small boy) is told by Aslan to throw an apple from the Tree of Youth into a good and rich place for it to grow.
"And while Digory was still cheering he heard the deep voice of Aslan beside him saying: "Look!"
Everyone in that crowd turned its head, and then everyone drew a long breath of wonder and delight. A little way off, towering over their heads, they saw a tree which had certainly not been there before. It must have grown up silently, yet swiftly as a flag rises when you pull it up on a flagstaff, while they were all busied about the coronation. Its spreading branches seemed to cast a light rather that a shade, and silver apples peeped out like stars from under every leaf. But it was the smell which came from it, even more that the sight, that had made everyone draw in their breath. For a moment one could hardly think anything else.
"Son of Adam," said Aslan, "you have sown well, and you, Narnians, let it be your first care to guard this Tree, for it is your Shield. The Witch of whom I told you has fled far away into the North of the world; she will live on there, growing stronger in dark Magic. But while that Tree flourishes she will never come down into Narnia. She dare not come within a hundred miles of the Tree, for its smell, which is joy and life and health to you, is death and horror and despair to her."
Later Digory would be given a seedling of this tree to take back home with him to England and plant. It would become a beautiful apple tree. The fruit of that tree would heal Digory's dying mother and its wood would later become the magical wardrobe when it finally died.
I wanted to paint it as it was being created with a sense of twisting and moving to the tree. The silver apples are beginning to "peep out like stars" from within the canopy. I tried to keep the strokes loose at points and liked the texture I was getting on the gessobord. As usual, I learn by doing. Nothing is perfect but I pray it is respectful of Lewis' book.