An artist once told me that people can learn a lot about themselves by sketching, painting or drawing trees. When you draw a tree, it shows the world who you are, he said. I didn’t really understand what he meant until I took a painting class and we were all instructed to paint the Tree of Life. We were given the same instructions, but at the end of two hours, everyone’s trees looked completely different — and somehow, each tree represented the artist in its own way.
Shortly afterward, I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. In this novel, an art teacher tells the troubled main character the same thing this artist told me — when you draw trees, it shows how you feel about the world at that moment. I also read The Underneath around this time, in which trees play a pivotal role in a much different way.
Ever since then I’ve delighted in sketching them. The best part is, there’s really no *wrong* way to draw a tree, so you can’t really screw up.
Because our views on life can change by the day, the way we create trees changes, as well. I often sketch them when I’m bored or find myself in a writing rut. I also sketch when I’m thinking about the next scene of my short story or novel and need something actively creative to do until the words come.
Sketching trees has also inspired me to look at real trees in different ways.
Basically, trees rock.