Capturing the character of trees: with Elizabeth Cross

Elizabeth Cross is better known as an art historian and curator, but she has nurtured her remarkable talent for drawing out of the public eye. This exhibition consists of twenty drawings of trees – they are for the most part denuded of foliage and it is their nervy, sinuous, gesticulating grace that translates so well into the language of drawing.

Western art history is full of great artists who have been fascinated by trees and have been inspired to make works which have an analogy with the light-loving, profusely spreading, graceful unities that trees epitomise. There is a tradition stretching from Albrecht Dürer and Claude Lorrain to Cézanne, Van Gogh, Matisse and Mondrian which establishes the most exacting criteria in the field of drawing. That these drawings by Elizabeth Cross can withstand any such comparison is surely the measure of her formidable achievement.

In her show Arborescent, Cross has surveyed a variety of trees whose aesthetic nature spoke most strongly to her as an artist. On the show Arborescent, Peter Kanowski said “Trees are the gift that keeps on giving”. At a time when the importance of appreciating trees extends beyond aesthetic value, and we are increasingly aware of the need to conserve and protect the older trees in our surrounding environment.

How can we better observe the unique personality of a tree and do it justice in a two dimensional format?

Join Elizabeth Cross for an intimate plein air drawing workshop where you can explore a number of techniques such as sketching, scumbling or rendering details in shadow and light

Time: Morning session 10:30am – 12pm | Afternoon Session 1pm - 2:30pm

Capacity: 12 places per workshop

Equipment: Drill hall Gallery camp stools. Workshop participants to bring their own drawing materials i.e. sketchbook, graphite pencils and/or charcoal

Workshop lead by: Elizabeth Cross and Friends of the Arboretum Council representative, Jan Morgan

Cost: $20 general | $15 Friends of the Drill Hall Gallery, Friends of the National Arboretum, and students.

Location: The National Arboretum Canberra, Himalayan Cedar forest (weather permitting)

Parking: Limited spaces, ride-sharing recommended.

Places limited.