It is easy to see the beauty of a tree when cloaked in it’s summer leaves or brandishing its brilliant fall colors, but there is also an elegance to be found when they are bare of their foliage. Here is a mighty oak tree standing at a crossroads in rural Pamlico county, North Carolina. Its limbs and branches twist, turn and curve in a celebratory dance to life and all its wonders. Nature’s dance is slow and steady yet touches each and every living thing. Yes, there is a beauty in the bare branches of a magnificent, mature oak tree.
For this fine art image I felt black and white was the correct presentation. After all, the appeal of this bare bone tree is not that of its vivid green leaves or stunning fall foliage, but of its bent branches, sturdy trunk and textured bark. Rather than strengthening the story of its naked beauty, color would only serve to distract from it. Grayscale imagery may seem stark and simplistic at first glance but there is a delicious depth or detail to be found in them. The contrast of light and shadow adds depth and interest to the artwork. The lack of color forces focus on the shapes, patterns of lines of the subject.
In reflection, I can’t help but wonder how many people pass this handsome ancient oak in the course of a day. People making their daily trek to work, perhaps in nearby New Bern or Oriental, then home again. Country folk that have to travel to purchase the needs and luxuries that make their life pleasant. Do they even notice its beauty? Does this majestic oak ever speak to any of their souls? This old tree has a fascinating story to tell to those that are willing to listen.
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