The Light Flows From Their Branches

The light flows from their branches: Drawing and Being with Trees
​4th & 5th May 2024

10am – 3pm

£160 (inc all materials and VAT)

Tutor – Brigid Collins

Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.” The light flows from their branches.

During this workshop you will become refreshed and inspired by the work of three artists who loved trees – George Clausen, Vincent Van Gogh and Farhad Ostovani – and by what poet, Mary Oliver expresses so beautifully in her poem, When I Am Among the Trees, in which she captures a moment of being when she recognises in trees the life force, the spirit, that animates us all. Getting to know trees is to notice that, like humans, each has their individual qualities and characteristics – birches are unlike pines, pines are unlike willows, willows are unlike oaks. Yet, all repay our close attention.

John Berger writes of Van Gogh’s drawings of trees, “Drawings like these were not so much preparatory studies as drawn hopes; they show in a simpler way – without the complications of handling paint – where the act of drawing could hopefully lead him. They were maps of his love.”

Spending time among the trees that populate the beautiful gardens surrounding Cockenzie House we will make quick, then longer studies to reflect their particular qualities and by learning how to truly see them, individually.

Beginning with simple yet powerful drawing exercises, we will move through line, then tonal drawing using charcoal, graphite and ink – all made from direct observation – before bringing the knowledge, experience and energy we have gleaned into studies made using the richness and vibrancy of soft pastels on coloured ground.

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