Tree of Life Picture

For my Pictorial Foundation class we have 4 experimental projects. We're given vague descriptions of 4 ideas and have to create something with certain materials and a certain size. No materials or size can be used twice.

Tree of Life:
"The tree of life- the arbor vitae- is highly significant in most early cultures, symbolizing life itself, regeneration and immortality. The tree of life can also have the significance of the cosmic tree- the imago mundi- that stands at the center of the world: its straight trunk can be compared with the axis mundi, representing the earthly world; its roots anchor it to the earth and grow toward the underworld; while its branches stretch for the sun, representing man's eternal search for spiritual enlightenment. The tree of life is thus a cosmic symbol both of man and of the link between paradise, earth and hell. In both Judaism and Christianity, the tree of life is believed to be at the center of paradise and represents the perfection of Eden. In common with beliefs of many other traditions, it bears twelve (or ten) fruits (which can also be forms of the zodiac), that represent the rewards of spiritual growth. Both the tree and its fruits confer immortality and transcend evil. In the Taoist and Buddhist paradise, the peach is the fruit of immortality, corresponding in Persia to the sap of the haoma tree (or almond), while in some Eastern traditions, the fruits are replaced by jewels. Furthermore, in many cultures, a sun is sutated in the trunk, signifying the source of all life. Mythical creatures were often believed to live in te boughs of the tree of life, as were birds (sometimes representing dead or unborn souls). Palm and olive trees were popular candidates as the tree of life in Babylonian, Chaldean and Phoenician tradition, as are the peach, plum and mulberry in China. In ancient Egypt, the tree of lif was represented by a sycamore bearing gifts, while the Norse cosmic tree Yggdrasil, was an ash, and that of Thor, an oak. In Mithraic tradition, the tree of life was believed to be an evergreen pine; in Germanic myth, it is variously the fir, lime or linden of Wotan; and in shamanistic cultures it is the birch. The Christian cross can be regarded as a tree of life, signifying victory over death. The Jewish tree of life grows in the center of Jerusalem, and in Hinduism, it is personified by the earth goddess Aditi; in Japan it is named as the mythological Sa-ka-ti. The tree of life is universally difficult for the mortal to find and is frequently guarded by a pair of monsters or animals. The Babylonian tree of life (sic) upon which the universe revolves, has branches of lapis lazuli. Inverted trees, such as the Kabbalistic tree of life, or sefiroth, or that mentioned in the Indian Upanishads, grow downward into the earth, because their roots are in the spiritual world: they thus symbolize the distilling of the spirit into bodily form. In many traditions, there are variant trees of life, and dual trees of life and knowledge or of life and death. The counterpart of the Babylonian tree of life was a tree of truth."

That's what we were given to go off of. You're not seeing the entire picture: it's probably 9x12 bristol. Watercolor (base bg for sky and dirt), oil pastel, acrylic (on board for the earth in the bg; on top of pastel for the birds), chalk pastel (enhance bg colors, gradiation). The 12 "fruits" (I think I intended them to be peaches) are silver, copper and gold oil pastel.
This was due September 29, 2004, and done maybe 2 weeks before that.
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