|Giant Velles Protecting the Ancient Oak Tree, 71X56 cm, oil on panel, 2014.
There is a sad story that goes with this painting. I don’t mean to say that the story of creation of this painting was a sad one. On the contrary, that story knows a happy ending- the artist and the client were happy (ever after) with the result.
I refer to the story that is told by the painting itself. As you might expect, I am not allowed to tell you that story now because it is meant to be published, together with this painting, in my upcoming book of giants early next year.
However, what I can, and should tell you is that the painting’s title is somewhat deceiving. Yes, the giant is trying to protect the mighty tree and save it from whatever this bunch of Viking-lumberjacks plan to do with it, but he is not a sentimental treehugger, nor is he concerned about the greenhouse effect and all the related consequences. His reasons for protecting this big tree are more of a serious emotional nature; this tree just happened to be in the center of the giant’s personal drama, not more and not less. It is rather distressing, and I would not be surprised if more sensitive and emotionally labile readers would shed a tear, or two, after reading about it.
Well, after saying so much, and yet revealing almost nothing, I believe I cannot leave you without some kind of tale that, in one or another way, can be connected to the main theme of my painting, which is (surprisingly) not the tree, but the nature of the giant’s attachment to it. Here is a short piece by J.R.R. Tolkien from his ‘Introductory Note’ to the original edition of Tree and Leaf.
“…The story* was not published until 1947 (Dublin Review). It has not been changed since it reached manuscript form, very swiftly, one day when I awoke with it already in mind. One of its sources was a great-limbed poplar tree that I could see even lying in bed. It was suddenly lopped and mutilated by its owner, I do not know why. It is cut down now, a less barbarous punishment for any crimes it may have been accused of, such as being large and alive. I do not think it had any friends, or any mourners except myself and a pair of owls.”
*Leaf by Niggle