Elemental Movements, paintings by Polly R Branch

looking eastward down drive
A forest interior looking north
A forest interior looking north

The landscape reveals color, direction, time of day and season.    Our relationship to the elements of the Earth influences who we are, and how we see life.

The view in the blue/green painting, faces east in the cool light of a spring midday so there are few warm tones yet.  Below, in contrast, is a view from the top of a ridge facing north, where the eastern light has reached the site and warmed the fallen leaves.

It is the perspective of the artist that gives the subject its place and relation.  It is the viewer, that gives it personal meaning.

There are endless  patterns in the earth and cosmos, which we can study and experience.  The golden raitio and the spiral can be seen in fantastic examples throughout earth’s nature and the universe.  We can study the patterns mathematically.  We can  see, hear and feel the harmonic patterns in  songs and chant patterns.  Chants, drum beats, dance and meditative breathing can bring us closer to the rhythms of the universe and open our hearts to even greater areas of exploration.  My landscape art works are very grounded aspects of Earth’s elemental relations, but in the play of light and form, I hope to reveal a space for the breath and heart to explore .

A favorite song for life

Someone asked me, “what would be your song of life if you had one?”  And this one from Natalie Merchant, came to mind.

Natalie Merchant

These are the days
These are days you’ll remember
Never before and never since, I promise
Will the whole world be warm as this
And as you feel it,
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you
Are touched by something
That will grow and bloom in you

These are days that you’ll remember
When May is rushing over you
With desire to be part of the miracles
You see in every hour
You’ll know it’s true
That you are blessed and lucky
It’s true that you are touched
By something that will grow and bloom in you

These are days
These are the days you might fill
With laughter until you break
These days you might feel
A shaft of light
Make its way across your face
And when you do
Then you’ll know how it was meant to be
See the signs and know their meaning
It’s true
Then you’ll know how it was meant to be
Hear the signs and know they’re speaking
To you, to you

My sister Katey, taught me many songs I have cherished.  She has been an inspiration in many ways.  She sings and plays guitar, and has a dance workshop people love to experience…Freeing_Your_Spirit_w_dance.    Recently, friends and family have joined the ONE BILLION RISING to raise awareness about domestic violence and what we can do.  The song, “Break the Chain” is dedicated to Women breaking free from violence.  We will be dancing together as a flash mob on Feb. 14th.  Find recordings, dance instruction and more about the campaign at http://www.onebillionrising.org  Download the song lyrics here: Break the Chain lyrics

Reflections on the Tree of Life

Paintings by Polly Branch, Roanoke, Virginia

“Roots and Branches”
Walking into the Tree

“Roots and Branches” reminds me of the cyclic and mirrored existence in which we live on Earth.

“Walking into the tree” is an exercise in perspective from  Mystery School studies.  The body can be observed and analyzed as a map where specific energy “landmarks” refer to emotional and physical conditions that effect the body.  The patterns and lessons in the tree of life represent a  “roadmap” on which to travel and to study.

Fruits of the Forest

Gathering at the nuclear test site

The Fruits of the forest 

When I decided to grow gourds  they became my subject matter.  The picture plane is shallow and patterned because I painted it inside the studio rather than on sight to determine the rhythm and colors.   The gourd was my figure, until I added human forms to describe historical events in my life.   “Gathering at The Nevada Nuclear test site”, was from a journey for peace activists in 1991 and the “Gourds in  New Orleans” was created during the flood of Katrina.    The Story underneath the story is told through successive paint layers.

Fruit of the forest
Fruit of the forest
Gourd in New Orleans

Welcome to Polly’s pages.

In the cave where fairies are made she releases them into the waters. 

I am using this venue as a journal of sorts to review and discuss how my paintings came to me, and why I made the choices I did.   Each group or representative of paintings explores a different thought or challenge.  They all seem to return to the gestures of figure in nature, or the experience of being in nature.  These figure paintings are from 2010 – 11. In “Measuring a Fairy” shown here, a figure with raised arm drops water in a cavelike space.I wanted to celebrate the hidden and “magical” side of myself and my thoughts about elemental beings.  We are surrounded by so much life and movement; ever changing aspects of the basic elements.   If I were to help create magical beings for the earth,  I think I would do so in the safety and warmth of a cave where a stream flows through and out to the world.  Dripping off her fingers the watery fairies float down into the waters below….where other creatures like the next painting’s  puppies might see something swimming inside the ripples of time and playing with their senses.  How do the unseen and barely seen play with you?  Do you have time to walk into a forest or by a creek?  I am blessed to live near a forest where I can see turkey and deer, hawks and chipmonks.  Yes and an occassional larger or more serious sounding creature.  But mostly they are the ones you might see in the city too.

Silently the fairies glide and swim by....