I start out painting a landscape and end up painting trees.

There isn’t a time when I don’t remember feeling a real affinity for trees. As soon as I could, I learned to climb a tree. My strongest childhood memories were of being as high as I could get in the branches of a tree. Sometimes I managed to get high enough to see over the rooftops around our house. There was such a sense of freedom up there.

Research indicates that being in amongst trees is good for our mental health because it reduces our stress levels. It’s a pretty good place for wildlife to hang out too. We need trees. Our wildlife needs trees too.

I find it distressing to read how many trees the planet is losing through de-forestation every day. This seems so shortsighted and is not going to improve our quality of life. Far from it – we are removing the very things that help to clean our air and in fact provide us with so much of our oxygen. But I guess, when it’s not on our doorstep, inconvenient global issues can all too easily be ignored.

Aside from painting trees – how can I give back?

To start with, I planted way too many trees in my front garden. There are 9 silver birch trees on my small lawn. And I absolutely love every one of them. But once I had used up all of that space, I was stuck. How to plant more trees without needing to acquire more land? A tricky question.

The answer: World Land Trust. For every £5 donated, a tree gets planted in one of their collaborative global projects. That feels like a win to me. So early this year, I signed up and started my own little virtual forest. Every painting I sell funds a tree. I kicked it off by planting a virtual copse of 10 trees and every year I will add to my woodland. So if you are one of my lovely customers who has bought a painting from me this year, somewhere in the world there’s a tree planted in your name. Thank you for helping me to make a contribution to something I feel so passionate about.

I don’t believe I am alone in wanting to paint trees. Earlier this year I taught a workshop on painting landscapes in watercolour. Painting trees was a topic that came up quite frequently during the day. Before lockdown, I was asked if I would run a workshop on painting trees. I was about to put one together when lockdown changed my plans.

I am currently working on material for an online workshop on painting trees. Let me know if you want to know more. Together we could be painting trees and planting trees.

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” 

― Warren Buffett