The Tree of Life

Published on 23 May 2024 at 21:21

Medium: Watercolor on paper

Date: 2007

The Tree of Life

Art has always been my way of exploring the deeper meanings of life, often beyond the realms of reality. Surrealism, in particular, allows me to venture into the subconscious, blending dreams with reality. Today, I will share my watercolor painting titled "The Tree of Life." This piece encapsulates the essence of life through vivid imagery and symbolism.

In 1992, my therapist at the time was giving a 3-day workshop in Providence, RI. He asked me to do a cover illustration for the notebooks he had prepared and suggested some kind of tree. I wanted to be comprehensive, so I created a tree also showing its roots. In my view, the roots are as important, if not more so, than the tree itself because without roots, a tree will not survive. This worked fine for him. Years later, in 2007, I came across this illustration in my wastebasket. It spoke to me, begging me to do more with it before I tossed it out. So, I gave it a second chance and started with the new idea of a flower with roots.

"The Tree of Life" combines elements of nature, science, and the animal kingdom to create a thought-provoking image. This piece invites you, the viewer, to explore its layers and interpret the interconnectedness of life.

The Foundation - The Tiger

At the roots of this “tree,” a tiger roars fiercely, symbolizing raw power, strength, and the primal instincts that lie at the core of all living beings. The tiger's open mouth, roaring into the ground, signifies the foundation of life, rooted in the primal and untamed aspects of existence.

The Tree Trunk

The trunk of the tree rises from the tiger's mouth, merging the primal with the cultivated. It stands for growth and the journey from basic survival to higher consciousness. The trunk, depicted in shades of green, symbolizes life and vitality, firmly grounded yet reaching upward.

The Blossoms

At the ends of the branches, delicate flowers bloom. These blossoms represent beauty, growth, and the fruits of life's journey. The vibrant pink and red hues of the flowers contrast with the darker tones of the tiger, highlighting the duality of life – the balance between ferocity and beauty.

The Light and Laboratory Equipment

Encased within a glowing orb at the center of the tree is a depiction of a light  and laboratory equipment. This symbolizes knowledge, discovery, and the quest for understanding. The light, often associated with ideas and enlightenment, represents human curiosity and the endless pursuit of scientific exploration.

The Background

The background transitions from a deep, dark blue at the top to a bright, warm yellow at the bottom. This gradient signifies the passage from night to day, from darkness to light, reflecting the cyclical nature of life and the continuous journey from ignorance to knowledge.

"The Tree of Life" is a visual narrative that explores the essence of existence. Through the connection of primal instincts and intellectual pursuits, it portrays the multifaceted journey of life. I invite you to spend time with this piece, to find your own meanings within its surreal layers.

Art allows me to express the inexpressible, to explore the boundaries of my imagination. "The Tree of Life" is one of my attempts to capture the complexity of life through imagery that may not always be found together. Albert Einstein said, "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."  I hope it inspires you to look deeper, to appreciate the intricate connections that bind us all, and to celebrate the beauty of life's journey.

What are your thoughts on "The Tree of Life"? How do you interpret the symbols within this painting? Share your insights and interpretations in the comments below! Let's start a conversation about the meaning of life through art.



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Tonia Bean
24 days ago

I love it. It spoke to me. The art and sound affects were wonderful. To me it was the best one yet. WELL DONE Jay Ells.