I’m in love. And wouldn’t you know it the object of my affection is short, stubby and twisted. Yes, Pinus Contortas – otherwise known as Shore Pines – has sent me over the edge. I’m sure you’ve seen them, the small, graceful pines that grow near the ocean. Not only do they contort and twist, they lean, curve, kink, bend and grow every imaginable direction except straight. Most often there are several trunks curving upward, or even over, in graceful arcs and angles. Nature’s art is truly sublime.
While I was initially drawn to their lines, as I’ve been getting to know them better these many days by the sea, I’m also intrigued by their colors. In the sun they tend to warm browns, ochres and crimsons. On gray days their bark takes on cooler browns and blues. And when they’re drenched by a heavy rain, they become almost black while the lichen that so frequently appears on them lightens to a soft green.
And if the lines and colors aren’t enough to make me swoon, the texture is rough and gritty. It all adds up to a tree full of personality and impact. I’ve done several drawings already, taken masses of photographs and can’t wait to tackle some large portraits once I return home. Pinus Cortortas and I have a very bright future together.