Homage to the Southern Live Oak (Quercus Virginiana)

The Mural is complete!

I’ve been inspired by these trees since I first saw them in Savannah, Georgia. Their graceful but strong branches, often dipping down to the ground and covered with ferns, moss and Spanish moss, formed a complex pattern against the sky and created dense and dappled shade. I sketched them in the many scenic Savannah squares when I attended summer SCAD educator weeks. When I accepted the mural commission at Tyler Technologies I realized the horizontal nature of this tree would make the ideal subject for the 16 foot by 6 foot wall.

After making this decision I discovered that the southern live oak is also the state tree of Georgia. This oak is called “live” because it is an evergreen. Its range is from southern Virginia to Texas along the gulf coastal areas. The wood is very heavy and strong and many birds and other wildlife are supported by its acorns and dense shade.

These trees can live over 500 years! The Seven Sisters Oak in Louisiana is designated as the oldest registered living oak and is estimated to be between 500 and 1000 years old.

I added vertical elements to suggest the lacy quality of “Spanish Moss.” This draping plant is actually a flowering plant in the bromeliad family, not a moss. Contrary to what you might think, this plant does not harm the tree because it is not taking any nutrients from the tree but only from the air and water.

For the opening reception on July 15 I will be adding a sound element to the event. The field recording from Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia, gives you an idea of the sounds you might hear when standing near these majestic trees.

Entire wall: Homage to the Southern Live Oak – 16′ x 6′ – July 2021 – Acrylic – Tyler Technologies, Duluth, Georgia

Detail: Main trunk with flicker, palmetto and blue jay.
Detail: Branches with perched yellow warbler (migratory) and brown thrasher (Georgia state bird).

Detail: Branches with pair of cardinals and blue bunting (migratory).

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