Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Olive Tree Branch

This past fall, I have been busy completing my next botanical artwork, The Olive Tree Branch.
The ancient and sacred olive tree (olea europea) has always been an important gift to humanity. I have always been impressed by it's beauty, it's history and it's cultural and economic importance. I have had the privilege of being able to see these magnificent trees up close on my visits to Greece as they magically shimmer in the sunshine when the summer breeze rustles their leaves.

My inspiration for drawing the olive branch came from visiting two different museums in Greece. The first was an artifact I saw at the Heraklion Archeological Museum in Crete in 2016 - a reconstructed fresco of an olive branch from the Minoan civilization. I have always admired the minimalist style of Minoan art for it's simplicity but also for its functional and decorative design application which is elegant and sophisticated. The second museum, a very new and modern museum, The Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil in the city of Sparta Greece in 2017 has a beautiful display both indoors and outdoors with a lovely collection of art portraying olives and olive trees and an impressive historical exhibition showcasing equipment, tools and vessels used for the cultivation of olives, olive oil and olive soap from antiquity to modern times of the 20th century.

Heraklion Archeological Museum - Crete

Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil - Sparta, Greece

In my creative process, I explored the anatomy and structure of the olive tree while photographing it's branches and drawing it's leaves from observation on location and from sketches I made in my home studio. The leaves can be large or quite small depending on the tree species and the shapes of the leaves can vary. The underside of the leaf is much lighter than the top which makes this tree uniquely beautiful. Using colored pencil textures and digital lines I created 3 different leaf shapes which I adjusted in length and width throughout the branch for a natural composition.

Archival art prints of The Olive Tree Branch are now available in my Etsy shop at

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