A little over a month ago I had a surprise visit to my downtown studio by Jude Rubin from the Northwest Watershed Institute. She asked if I would be interested in creating a painting for the annual Plant-A-Thon where the image would be used on "tree cards" to be sold by students to raise money for their schools. I quickly accepted the commission even though the deadline for completion was fast approaching. The next day Jude took me hiking through the Tarboo Watershed where I was able to get a feel for the landscape and explore the salmon runs. I went back to my studio and sketched out some ideas. I decided to do the painting on a 30"x42" panel which would scale down perfectly to the 5x7 card size. After hours of editing ideas and drawings I settled on a final theme and sketched a full size drawing (shown below) which I submitted for their approval.
It took me over three weeks to complete the painting and get it photographed and ready to be sent to the printer. We made the deadline and the cards are selling fast. Here are some excerpts from an article that appeared in the November 27th issue of The Leader.
Local artist Don Tiller has created an acrylic painting especially for the ninth annual Plant-A-Thon.
The image is featured on the Plant-A-Thon “tree cards,” which are sold by students to raise a grand total of $300,000 for their schools.
For each of the 3,000 trees to be planted by local students during the Plant-A-Thon in February, students sell a tree card for $10; the card entitles the buyer to “plant a tree in honor of someone special.”
Best known for his bright rural landscapes and his playful rendering of patterns of human land use, Tiller often works from his childhood memories of South Dakota farmland. But when he accepted the commission for the Plant-A-Thon card, he hiked through the Tarboo Watershed for firsthand inspiration.
Titled “Thriving Watershed,” Tiller’s painting reflects his fascination with the interdependency of salmon and forests.
“The colors in the tree in the foreground represent the energy and nutrients from the salmon that trees take up after salmon spawn and decompose,” he said.
Tarboo–Dabob Bay is included in the image, as well as a barn on Dabob Road, a historic legacy of the Daniel Yarr farm that operated there during the early 1900s.
“I tried to include the many elements that the Plant-A-Thon program brings together: the salmon, the trees, the history of farming and of course, the kids out there planting,” Tiller said. The tree planters in the painting are modeled after a photo of youth crew leaders Heather and Daphne Hamilton and Hannah Spitzbart.
“Thriving Watershed” is now on display at Tiller’s studio on Water Street in Port Townsend, above the Public House restaurant.
Tree cards are available at participating schools: Port Townsend’s OCEAN Program, Chimacum Pi Program, Swan School, Jefferson Community School, and the PTHS Students for Sustainability Club. They are also available at Farm’s Reach Cafe, the Chimacum Corner Farmstand, and at the Chimacum Crafts Fair on Dec. 14-15, the final Port Townsend Farmers Market on Dec. 21, and at the Food Co-op from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 23.
Here is a link to the actual article:
Also, here is the link to the card site where you can purchase cards online:
|"Thriving Watershed" 30"x42"|