Lee Musgrave – Thinking to Oneself

2 minute read

I am an artist who has been making paintings and drawings inspired by trees for years. Attached are a few photos of my work. I’ve exhibited these artworks in numerous solo and group exhibitions.

Please describe your relationship with trees?

Trees are essential to our well-being. They produce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide. They provide shelter and keep soil from eroding. We build our houses from them and read books printed on the paper they provide. Plus they nourish our hearts as beautiful elements of nature and metaphors for life. They are not just an economic commodity.

Please describe one of your submitted pieces – (Thinking To 0nes-self)

In my painting, Thinking To Ones-self, the outer bark of an old growth tree stump has morphed into a forest of trees that are evocative of a Gothic Cathedral. Inside the interior of this forest/cathedral you can see a checkerboard tile floor with a pawn chess piece sitting alone. When I hike into the forest near my studio I often have the feeling of entering a sacred place . . . and as I am usually alone I feel honored by the silence, serenity and peace the trees provide.

Why do your images show so many tree stumps? What does this represent?

While I acknowledge that modern day society still has need of wood for many purposes, I do not believe that it is necessary to cut down old growth forest (trees that are over two hundred years old) to meet those needs. Thus, in my artwork I often use the large stumps of such trees as stages on which to depict tableau’s related to many kinds of unnecessary destruction or moments of sadness, anxiety, hope or joy.

What sort of consciousness do trees inhabit?

Without anthropomorphizing trees, science has proven that in order to succeed in preserving our forests in a rapidly warming world, we must start to understand trees as sophisticated organisms that live in families, support their sick neighbors, and have the capacity to make decisions and fight off predators. That is the sort of consciousness many people do not have.

What’s the most significant thing a tree has communicated to you?

Cultural geographers, anthropologists, sociologists and urban planners study why certain places hold special meaning to particular people. Places said to have a strong “sense of place” have a strong identity that is deeply felt by some. To me, that place is around trees.

What can trees teach us about art and creativity?

Trees are much like people for each is unique. They inhabit this planet as we do. They grow vertically, intake nutrients from the air, water and soil. They create environments, shape themselves into sculptural forms, etch their surface with textures, bloom with color, wave in the wind, bear fruit and bend with grace when necessary. They teach us how to turn over a new leaf, to branch out and to sink deep roots. In short, each tree tells its own story and thus if we are open to see it that story will spark our imagination, individually and collectively.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Help save the planet and invest in our collective well-being; plant a tree (or two) today.

Find Lee here: www.leemusgrave.com