There’s a Climate Emergency Centre opening near me in Staines, called The Talking Tree, which will house a café, repair centre and a community hub amongst other things. They also plan to host regular art exhibitions, which is excellent news. I heard they will be launching with a collection of donated artworks from local artists with the theme of trees, sales of which will help fund the centre. I made a couple of pieces earlier in the year featuring trees, utilising old match box labels and scrap wood, with the message Too Hot, but one of those is already sold. So I racked my brain for a new idea.
No inspiration came until I was driving home from dropping supplies off for the activists at the HS2 tree protection camp at Denham when I thought, what would trees say to us if they could talk? On the whole, trees need nothing from us. Other than to be left alone. But right now, that’s not the case. They need help; from the ancient woodlands along the proposed HS2 route to the huge swathes of the Amazon rainforest being slashed and burned. Which led my thoughts to the Beatles album cover for Help, with the band spelling out the word HELP in semaphore*, and imagined the fab four instead as dead trees, crying out for help. So this is what I painted when I got home.
Not sure that’s the cheery celebration of our flora that the Climate Emergency Centre might be looking for? But it’s the truth.
I think I prefer the white version; a homage to the Beatles, on an LP sized canvas.
*Amusingly, the Beatles album cover doesn’t spell Help at all. Robert Freeman, the photographer, didn’t like the way help looked in semaphore, so they improvised to get something more visually appealing. And thus the iconic cover actually spells NUJV! Catchy, huh?