"Tree Spirit", mixed media on cradleboard, 10" x 9"
While searching for my art tribe in south Florida, I've come across a bunch of nuts. Literally! Coconuts. Parts and pieces, chunks and strands, primitive fronds falling wherever they please, despite HOA restrictions to the contrary. The majestic coconut palms, asserting their right to self-prune and propagate, had no idea that I suspected what they were up to.
I watched them warily for the first few days. Contemplating their strange nut clusters and odd trunks, the scruffy wildness of some varieties next to the sleek, towering nobility of others. Until a gift of a coconut bunch straight from the tree found its way to my front door.
After a day or two of enjoying fresh coconut water and making a variety of coconut-berry custards, I became mesmerized by the woody stalks and husks accompanying the coconut bunch.
"Forest Keeper", mixed media on cradleboard, 12" x 6"
Still in my pajamas one morning, I grabbed my pruning shears and some gloves and tackled the bunch. Wrestling and carving and snipping and shearing until a pile of hulls and stalks grew at my feet. (After a weekend of coconut smashing on the driveway to harvest coconut meat, I am sure the neighbors were not surprised to see me in this strange get-up having another coconut moment.) I dragged the pile into my studio and began assembling the pieces like parts of a puzzle. Tribal headpieces appeared almost immediately.
Within a few days, a tribe began emerging from the birch board bases. Like ancient faces in trees, this trio reminded me of the wild beauty within everything and everyone. Bits and pieces of palms dropped without ceremony became my forest and playground, an instant sandbox of inspiration and creation. And I was transported to a Floridian Neverland of lost boys and girls wearing tribal headdresses, playing hide and seek with mermaids and dodging crocodiles in the lake, running through yards at dusk playing kick the can and groaning as the lights came on and it was time to go home.
"Into The Woods", mixed media on cradleboard, 13" x 6"
Those coconut palms welcomed me with manna from the trees, an instant tribe of imaginary playmates and an unlimited supply of art fodder. Life is good here.
These pieces are available, and will be on display at Ciel Gallery in August. Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jen Walls and her imaJENation