Artist’s Books – Medieval Trees

I’ve always loved the idea of artist books and have plenty of sketch pads with designs, tree11projects and drawings. So at last, I’ve finally got around to making a hand bound book of my own.  It combines three interests of mine, the medieval art style, liner projects that explore a theme and bookbinding.

I’ve put together a couple of books before but this time I decided to do it properly and bought myself the right tools for the job. So with this in mind, my recent art works have IMG_20190228_125654been looking at how trees were portrayed by artists through the Late Middle Ages.

From borders to hedgerows

The images start with the heraldic border designs, flowery lines with leaves and buds that dangle down the page and trail across the tops and bottoms. As the church relaxed its attitude to depicting nature, artists increasingly began to explore painting trees.

Their first attempts show lollipop style trees and any parent will be familiar with a green blob on a stick. These gradually developed to a stage where there are tree shapes filled in with leaves. tree5

Superstar artists

By the 12th century artists were becoming more and more recognised and with the arrival of Giotto di Bondone the superstar painters had begun. Prior to his fame, artists were merely seen as craftspeople with a technical skill.

IMG_20190227_125521Cimabue, Duccio, Martini and the Lorenzetti brothers all brought their own take on nature and with it secured the status of artists in society.

Drawing trees

Eventually the way of drawing leaves changed from simple ellipses to more complicated ideas. Here you can see the type of foliage that could have been found throughout the era.

By the end of the 14th century artists had started to nail painting nature and were capable of capturing the rich diversity of trees present in the landscape. It is really interesting to follow how artists, over time, looked at the world around them and IMG_20190303_092446_6experimented in painting vegetation.

Hand bound books

The idea now is to compile these paintings into a leather, hand bound book. I will also make a limited series of 24 watercolour paintings reproduced as digital prints and stitch these into an A5 copy of the original artworks.

If you’re interested in obtaining one of these rare books about the story of Medieval Trees, please email me for further information at –travellingcontent@gmail.com

4 responses to “Artist’s Books – Medieval Trees

  1. Michael Oliver

    Dear Neal,
    What an ambitious artistic and historic future you are embarking on. And I have every confidence in your ability to succeed.
    With all best wishes,
    Michael O.

  2. Pingback: The Old Olive Tree | UmbriArt Gallery

  3. Pingback: Soup Bowls, Rocks and Piece of Broccoli -Painting with Imagination | UmbriArt Gallery

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