Dreamland Tree 2011 (silverpoint on acrylic gesso, 8cm x 9cm) is a small drawing of a tree which used to occupy a triangular patch of land between roads near the old entrance to Dreamland (an old amusement park in the East Kent seaside town of Margate for those who don’t know). It’s a kind of souvenir of a place and of something that once lived there. At the time of making the drawing the tree was still alive. I had intended to do a series of drawings of trees, buildings and bridges that were to become a series of ‘wonders of Margate’. This didn’t come to pass at the time but I still have some ideas relating to this which I might develop sometime in the future. Here’s part of what I wrote at the time:
“Dreamland Tree… is one of a possible series of ‘portraits’ of certain trees, buildings and other places which hold particular memories and associations. Whenever I pass by this tree it conjures various memories (childhood memories of Dreamland, of motorbikes parked underneath its leaves, of the number 52 bus which passed either side of it and which would often be driven by my Dad …and so on). This tree has grown and occupied this particular location over a span of time. It has been looked at or half-noticed by countless numbers of people en route to the seafront or Dreamland but one day it will no longer be here…”
Not long after I created a page for it the tree was damaged (it looked like a large section had deliberately been cut away from its bark) and then it died and finally was cut down. Trees grow into their particular place and their shape is influenced by the particular characteristics of where they grow. For example, two trees growing close to each other will spread outwards from each other and when one is chopped down the ‘ghost’ of its presence is ‘remembered’ in the shape of the one still standing. This tree grew in its own space surrounded by buildings and tarmac. I thought this tree was a lovely but almost unnoticed thing which could suggest the idea of lives lived in a place. I showed it in my solo exhibition at Marine Studios, Margate, and then it went on to Beaux Arts gallery, in Bath, for a group show. I might revisit this idea in the future.