Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Tahlequah Sycamore" is acquired by Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

"Tahlequah Sycamore" 48" x 44", colored pencil on acrylic ground on panel
by Fran Hardy copyright

This piece has just been acquired by the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, Oklahoma for their permanent collection. They chose it out of my pieces that hung in the group exhibition I curated for our "Earth Chronicles Project, The Artist's Process: Oklahoma" exhibition at the museum this past September and October. Our documentary of the same name aired on and continues to air on OETA, Oklahoma PBS. This was an exciting project to work on with funding from the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. 

I found wonderful sycamore, which are water loving trees, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma along the Illinois River when we visited there to interview conservation photographer Kim Baker. Sycamores grow well in river floodplains. Since they were not considered great wood for lumber the old trees have been allowed to flourish. I love their many colored peeling bark. 

The director of the museum has told me that they have a wonderful spot for this piece right at the entrance to their permanent galleries. I am so honored to hang at this beautiful museum that has shown so much support for our project as well as giving me a solo show there December 21, 2007 to February 3, 2008. After the solo exhibition, my painting "Carambola and Roses" was acquired for their permanent collection. That painting done in the early renaissance technique of oil over egg tempera was an homage to my grandfather who inspired me with his beautiful tropical gardens in Florida. I came down to visit my grandparents once in St. Petersburg in April and found this magnificent spectacle of their carambola (starfruit) tree heavy with fruit and a red rose bush in full bloom beneath it.

"Carambola and Roses" by Fran Hardy hanging in the permanent collection of the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art
Founded in 1919, the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is one of the oldest museums in the state of Oklahoma. Father Gregory Gerrer, for whom the museum is named, was a Benedictine monk of considerable artistic talent. During Father Gerrer's travels to Europe, Africa and South America, he collected objects of artistic and ethnological value.

The museum's permanent collections include Egyptian, Greek and Roman objects; art from the Renaissance through the early 20th century; and large holdings of Native American African/Oceanic and Eastern cultural artifacts. In addition, the museum offers exciting special exhibitions throughout the year.

Sycamore is a name which is applied at various times and places to three very different types of trees, but with somewhat similar leaf forms.
  • Ficus sycomorus, the sycamore (or sycomore) of the Bible; a species of fig, also called the sycamore fig or fig-mulberry, native to the Middle East and eastern Africa
  • Acer pseudoplatanus, the sycamore of Britain and Ireland; a European maple tree, also called sycamore maple, great maple, or, the plane tree in Scotland
  • Platanus, the sycamores of North America, known as planes in Europe
    • Platanus occidentalis, the American sycamore
    • Platanus racemosa (California sycamore or western sycamore)
    • Platanus wrightii (Arizona sycamore)

    • I would think that the tree I painted is an American Sycamore and perhaps the ones I saw at the Gila River were Arizona Sycamore? If any of you are knowledgeable about this let me know.

Read about the reasons for the beautiful peeling bark of the american sycamore.
An American sycamore tree can often be easily distinguished from other trees by its mottled exfoliating bark, which flakes off in great irregular masses, leaving the surface mottled, and greenish-white, gray and brown. The bark of all trees has to yield to a growing trunk by stretching, splitting, or infilling; the Sycamore shows the process more openly than many other trees. The explanation is found in the rigid texture of the bark tissue, which lacks the elasticity of the bark of some other trees, so it is incapable of stretching to accommodate the growth of the wood underneath and the tree sloughs it off.[1]
A sycamore can grow to massive proportions, typically reaching up to 30 to 40 meters (98 to 130 ft) high and 1.5 to 2 meters (4.9 to 6.6 ft) in diameter when grown in deep soils. The largest of the species have been measured to 51 meters (167 ft), and nearly 4 meters (13 ft) in diameter. Larger specimens were recorded in historical times. In 1770, near the junction of the Kanawha and Ohio RiversGeorge Washington recorded in his journal a sycamore measuring nearly 45 feet (14 m) in circumference at 3 feet (91 cm) from the ground.[2]
The sycamore tree is often divided near the ground into several secondary trunks, very free from branches. Spreading limbs at the top make an irregular, open head. Roots are fibrous. The trunks of large trees are often hollow.
Another peculiarity is the way the leaves grow sticky, green buds. In early August, most trees in general will have—nestled in the axils of their leaves—the tiny forming bud which will produce the leaves of the coming year. The sycamore branch apparently has no such buds. Instead there is an enlargement of the petiole which encloses the bud in a tight-fitting case at the base of the petiole.

Carambola (starfruit)
Carambola, also known as starfruit, is the fruit of Averrhoa carambola, a species of tree native to the PhilippinesIndonesiaMalaysiaIndiaBangladesh and Sri Lanka. The fruit is popular throughout Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and parts of East Asia. The tree is also cultivated throughout non-indigenous tropical areas, such as in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the southern United States.
The fruit has distinctive ridges running down its sides (usually five, but can sometimes vary); in cross-section, it resembles a star, hence its name. The entire fruit is edible and is usually eaten out of hand. They may also be used in cooking, and can be made into relishes, preserves, and juice drinks.

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