The Silver Birch tree

In our garden we don’t have Silver Birch trees; luckily though, our neighbours planted some against the fence where we get to enjoy them too. I love their silvery bark, their rustling green leaves which turn golden in autumn and then fall away, allowing the beautiful bare branches to shimmer gently.

In my painting “Silver Birch Owls”, there are four blue owls and one red owl. This is a recurring motif in several of my paintings. Without wanting to get too deep here, when I first used the motif, I was thinking about inclusion, making all feel welcome in a group. One of the things I really love about living in Melbourne, is the successful multiculturalism we have here. Sometimes we might not look the same, or share exactly the same beliefs or come from the same place. It doesn’t mean though that we can’t enjoy each others company. I just have to look at my students, young adults in a tertiary setting with mild intellectual disabilities to know that. They are a joy to behold, hanging out in the student cafeteria, borrowing books from the library and confidently walking around the campus. Occasionally  other students might stare, but not for long. It’s a great learning opportunity for all on the campus to see what these young adults can achieve and how they enrich our world.

Silver Birch Owls

Detail of “Silver Birch Owls”

Feather detail

Blue skies above

Silver Birch bark – can you see a face in the bark or is it just me?

“Owls dwell here”

“Owls dwell here” detail


46 thoughts on “The Silver Birch tree

  1. First of all…love the art here ❤ Also, I love that it signifies inclusion. My 22 yr old son, Luke, has Autism and ADHD and is mentally challenged…a wonderful young man who touches people's hearts and lives. So blessed am I to be his mom! He actually had a wonderful experience in high school (all through school, but esp high school). He was the manager for the football team, and football is a HUGE deal in our town. Well, our awesome coach set the tone for how to treat Luke and those boys just took him in as part of the team, made him feel so welcome and liked. Therefore, the girls followed the boys' lead and they all became friends with him as well. Luke would cheer along with the cheerleaders getting the crowd involved…everybody knows Luke and they all give him high fives when they run into each other in the community. At one time one of the football boys said something inappropriate to Luke and the rest of the team really got onto him about it and cheered up Luke. I am so proud of the young people in our community, and even prouder of my Luke. You know, when he graduated high school Luke was the ONLY student that the rest of his classmates rose to give him a standing ovation when his name was called. Luke was touched deeply and his dad and I were in tears.
    Just thought you might like to hear about that given your experiences as a teacher and your thoughts in your post.
    Peace to your heart,

    • Sara thank you so much for sharing this with me. I loved reading Luke’s story, this is how it should be at school and in the community. Sadly some of my students had no friends right through school, that is one of the things they love about being in our course, they have friends for the first time. Our course is being shut down at the end of the year due to budget cuts. It makes me feel so sad that those up above don’t see the true value of it for our students and their families. One of my favourite things is watching our students stand up on stage and graduate. The pride in their eyes and in their parents eyes, brings tears to mine. I hope that Luke continues to have a wonderful life.

      Jen x

      • Jen,
        Thanks so much for you words and wishes for Luke. He continues to do to well and is very happy. I’m very saddened to hear your program is being closed down. It always seems to be the programs that are needed the most are the first to be cut and it’s just maddening! I don’t know how to stop it, but wish I did. My heart feels for you.
        I’ll be looking for one of your above paintings in your etsy shop to favorite and hopefully purchase when it’s not such a tight budget time (with the holidays).

  2. Love both pieces and I really like what you’ve said at the start about inclusion! The birch is one of my favs too! I love the ‘eyes’ on the bark… intriguing. Thank you for sharing. I’m going to have to put your Etsy shop on my radar now! Cheers!

  3. Jen, nice touch using sheet music as part of the picture. This fits perfectly with your theme of harmony among all peoples.

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