Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The ever obliging tree...

  I used to dread the idea of painting a tree.. it was just so daunting to me...trees are very complicated folk. I just did not understand the nature of the tree...  So I decided I would get  to know trees up close and personal. It all started years ago,when I had to draw a tree with 27 birds in it. I scoured through hundreds of  photographs, carefully examining them with an inquiring eye. But that is no way to meet a tree. So I did the wise thing. I took a very long walk in the woods, I gathered tree bark and lichens and mosses and branches... I talked to the trees and discovered  that they are all  very different from one another. Just like snowflakes, trees have distinct personalities, unique qualities, identifying birthmarks and scars and loads of personality. I defy you to find 2 identical trees. Really... go examine a few and here is what you will find.....

an astounding amount of branches and twigs that twist , turn and cavort in a dizzying array of directions.  

 Mosses and Lichens that take up residence on the kind hospitality of the host..

Even when the Host is no longer in the land of the living

 Aren't these simply stunning adornments on a winter tree stump?

Tree feet come in a variety of shapes and sizes...


          And just look at the interesting array of doorways, windows and hideouts ready for immediate occupancy. free of rent, courtesy of MR and Mrs. Tree. These are available to any and all creatures willing to brave the long walk upward... or the basement apartment, near a quiet stream.

 Even old and empty trees provide a home for entire families of creatures great and small.
 Cozy retreats for the largest of families.

       You may meet a forest of trees, and from afar, they all look the same. Get up close and really get to know them and you will agree with me; there are no two trees alike. Nowadays, painting and drawing trees is something I take on with great enthusiasm! I do love those trees.... Below are a few I painted in this weeks illustration.

 Trees make  good  bases for teeter totters too!

   Hurrah for trees!!!

  I have actually painted the entire piece, except for 15 tiny frogs which will be located on the left hand border. I will show you next week.

  James's stew, this week, is   EXCELLENT!  Here is my husbands advice: Go to YouTube to get the basics, because most recipes are pretty much the same, then GET CREATIVE!
Here is what he threw in the pot:
Celery salt is your friend, Real celery too, Onions, Carrots, Garlic, Cubed roast, Beef Stock, Beef base, Tomato paste, canned tomatoes, 1/2 box of barley.  A wee bit of these spices: Rosemary, Sage, Bay Leaves, Nutmeg ( yes, I said Nutmeg) 1/4 cup sugar.
James really outdid himself last night. Not only did he make up this delicious stew, but also. roasted chicken, spaghetti sauce, AND homemade croutons. He likes to cook in bulk. Believe it or not, all his recipes yield less than 250 calories per serving!


  Eat a bowl of this stew, and then... go climb a tree!
"Climb the steps of the tree, that go up high... to the squirrely house, in the leafy sky" 
(The above "tree house"  is from my second book, "The Journey of Bushky Bushbottom"


  1. Love your tree, Jeri. When I was small, I used to climb the tallest trees, at least as far up as I could get. When I tried to get my own children to climb a tree, they were too afraid. This is slightly off topic, but someday, I want to be buried high up in a tree; as the tree grows the higher I'll be.

  2. Donna, I used to love climbing trees. We would sit in the branches of an old apple tree and sing "Moon River"! Now, being put to rest in the treetops is something I never thought of....

  3. Nature loves to tell us all sorts of wisdom if we will but listen :)
    I've always enjoyed drawing trees...now ivy is another thing!!
    I think our husbands would get along famously...isn't it lovely to have a personal chef?! We've just gotten through with a large pit of Basque Bean Soup and homemade bolognese sauce...which naturally meant homemade ravioli...and the kids, we must feed our kids so that was the weekend!
    I must get back to Miss Abby though...she's been a tad neglected this week and I mustn't let that happen too often or I will lose sight of ideas!

    1. Yumm, Basque Bean Soup... I would like that recipe to pass on to James!

  4. we had a knarled old cherry tree in our back garden with a big branch that was wide enough for me to pretend it was a horse, and I could put reins on it and ride for hours away... also it had the very sweetest of cherries and each summer, it was a fight between me and the birds to get the best fruit off the tree and eaten... what my mother thought I cannot tell.. never asked her if she wanted to have cherries for herself or the rest of the family-- as far as I was concerned it was my tree!!! I love to see all your artwork, it takes me back to a magical place where you would feel safe seeing all the little stories about the animals you meet there- thank you for sharing again... hugs from across the pond.. janzi

    1. We rode horses on the tree as well, we never had a REAL horse;( I wanted a horse more than anything in the world.) I guess your mom was never able to make a cherry pie! But fresh cherries are always the best

  5. Oh Jeri ~ I know that when I visit here I will leave with a smile on my face and in my heart.

    I love your trees. They are always so wonderfully detailed and you never know who is living in them. Their wonderful little colorful abodes, filled with all kinds of treasures and stories.

    How wonderful to have your own personal chef. I've not made a stew in quite sometime. I should make up some in the crockpot.

    Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

  6. I love the picture of the inside of the tree house. Your paintings are Charming!!!!
    I am always happy to see a new post from you. You make me smile.

  7. Your writing always captures my heart along with stirring my imagination.
    I love trees,growing up in the woods I truly believed all the little creatures had homes in there with curtains and such,still do. Some aspects of my childhood remain,I hope they always will.
    When I was talking to the Dove's this afternoon they assured me even in this bitter cold all was well and thanked us for the food.
    Bernie the huge grey squirrel stopped in to and was pleased to find some bread.
    Just wish I could have ended my day with a bowl of that delicious soup. Oh Yum & Hugs to all.........Amy PS: Thanks for stopping by.

  8. That makes me want to paint a tree with the inside like that! When i saw that painting, I instantly flashed back to gradeschool when we made our own sort of dollhouse type dioramas, and I just LOVED it!

    I love trees! :)

  9. Jeri, you always leave me in awe. My husband thinks I am obsessed with drawing trees for my school projects. Oh to have trees that look like those you paint...I can dream. Thanks for sharing your beautiful talent with us. Bonnie

  10. Hi Jerri !
    Oh Wonderful and charming work ! I love your artwork ! I love, I love I love...
    Thank you Jeri for all this talent !
    Nice thursday

  11. Oh Jeri, this is really something for the eyes ! I love to wander around your pages and find things... You always have so many wonderful little critters in and around...
    I too, love tree feet... My mother-in-law had two trees out in front. Every time I would walk by I had to stop.. The trunk and feet were so large and twisted... I wish I had taken photos, it was such an unusual tree. You are so right... No two the same.

    Exquisite work Jeri, you really have been busy.
    Jame's stew looks delish! What a dear man.
    Love and blessings,
    Penny & Bebe

  12. Love the trees! Love the bunnies! Love this painting! I can't wait to see it all finished. I could live in that tree. :)

  13. Your trees are wonderful! I love trees, but they are such a daunting subject. I've only tried one so far, but was unable to do it justice. Your paintings really point to their magical presence. They're just terrific! Thanks for sharing.

  14. I have rose hips on my drawing table right now, too. And I thought I was the only one who took pictures of the bases of trees and fantasized about who lives there, even anthropomorphizing the trees themselves. This post was just amazing... I think we need a Jeri Landers Fan Club. LOVE your work. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I agree with Michelle- I could live in that tree. Even tea for an hour... but the book itself will be like walking into this wonderful little world of your imagining.

    Blessings on your life and work, Jeri. I think this will be the best book ever.

  15. so inspirational as always...years and years ago, I took a couple of painting classes with watercolor...I decided recently that was something I really wanted to get back into, I ordered my paints, they are russian so I can't tell you the brand, and I am anxious to get started...what are your favorite paint brushes? I used to have a very expensive sable brush, but have since stopped using any and all animal products, I don't want to sacrifice sables for paintbrushes, are there synthetic ones out there that are close? just curious as to your opinion.. thanks!

    1. Robin, I have not found any synthetic replacements that I like. I just looked at my brushes, and most of them seem to be Windsor Newton. I use a 1/8" dagger brush for all my delicate work.

  16. Dear Jeri - your trees are fabulous...please let me be one of those little creatures that live in your trees. Your post is wonderful and your hubby's stew sounds fantastic. Thanks for sharing as always. God Bless You.

  17. I'm a lover of trees, so many personalities !
    Yours are just so full of whimsy and magic, the perfect little abode for all of those sweet little "Hollow friends"...
    The soup's and stews look mouth-wateringly delicious {Drool}.

  18. Why thank you kindly Jeri! It was so nice to see you had wandered over for a visit.. So happy you enjoyed viewing them. I am working on a poodle right now... This should be interesting, have not attempted dogs as yet.

    Such a joy to view you work... I agree with Michelle, I could live in that tree in the leafy sky.

  19. Jeri, I am enchanted with your beautiful art. I am in love with those sweet little rooms inside the trees. I could live there also! Your book will be wonderful!
    That stew looked delicious!

  20. Oh my! How lovely! I understand absolutely that you have to look at trees, a lot of trees, before you can paint them. I love the colours and all the knobbles that you included, giving your trees a history, a story of their own,

  21. I come again for see your wonderful artwork, It is so great !
    Nice new week Jeri !

  22. Wow! jeri....love the tree and now I think today's menu will include stew!!!

  23. I enjoyed hearing your tree adventure very much! i have a friend who is a forest ranger, he says trees are much like people. Each unique, some healthy, some with health issues..... interesting to consider his words. i personally love trees. I think of them as spiritual teachers, roots planted in the earth, grounded. Arms dancing in the heaves, home to so many like you point out. Resting place for others.

    loved seeing all your art and the final tree piece is amazing, wonderful and fanciful!

  24. Your work is amazing and it is if you've captured my own imaginings.

  25. I've found your site via Valerie Greeley's post, and very much enjoyed my visit.

    It will be fun to return to see what is going on in Tennessee.

    Best wishes.

  26. Hi Jeri! Thanks for your comments on my blog. I just love your work, and your animals! I found your blog from the interview you did, and I was just amazed at the pictures, the detail and colours! And so many! Your blog's like diving into a fairytale!

  27. "All trees are alive, I know, as miraculously alive as any other living creature, but some trees seem to have an added depth in their living, just as saints have." Elizabeth Goudge, The Joy of the Snow

    I love how you show your transitions from photo to painting, and from sketch to painting. Intriguing.

    I also...*simply must make that stew this very week!* :-) Seriously, "beef barley" has been in my mind for over a month, but now I'm really inspired. Looks delish. Robust. Warm. Flavorful...yes, this must happen...



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