Beauty of Oriole Park’s white pine an inspiration for art
By Megan OgilvieData Reporter
Sat., Aug. 31, 2019timer2 min. read
Tree of the Week showcases some of the biggest and most beautiful trees in the GTA, as compiled by Megan Ogilvie.
Here Brenda Webster Tweel tells us about one of her favourite trees, a white pine that grows in Toronto’s Oriole Park, and which she sees nearly every day while walking to and from the Davisville subway station.
For the last two decades I have been living a double life, straddling the worlds of urban designer by day and artist by night.
This white pine, which grows in the middle of Oriole Park, near the edge of the baseball diamond, brings my two lives together.
As an urban designer, I speak to the power of trees to make our streets more vibrant and to help our cities thrive. By cleaning our air, storing rain and ground water and protecting our shorelines, trees work hard every day.
While performing all these important duties, trees also provide beauty, helping to clear our minds. I like to think of them as agile caretakers, stretching out their limbs and inviting us to enjoy all that our cities have to offer.
As an artist, I enjoy communicating through the silent power of image.
My medium is cyanotype, a photographic printing process developed in the 19th century that creates a striking blue and white print. I work only with iron salts, sun, water and paper to create my images, often experimenting with the chemistry and composition of the technique and always aiming for my prints to showcase a vivid Prussian blue.
Cyanotype is a form of photography that does not require a camera. Having worked with blueprint machines in architecture school, I’m drawn to both the process and product of this medium
I have spent 20 years working in cyanotype and my work has grown from hand-held explorations to human-scaled portraits. I’m often drawn to creating cyanotype portraits of trees.
I feel that this particular cyanotype portrait, showcasing this white pine in Oriole Park, truly brings together my double life as city builder and cyanotype artist.
This tree, to me, is a particularly proud white pine. It holds a striking evergreen presence in the landscape and brings joy to all those who pass by.
The way I produced the cyanotype of the white pine is deliberate: I wanted to capture the power of this tree. By making the tree appear to float in this 19th century photographic medium I am underscoring the tree’s constancy in our rapidly transforming city.
I’ve read that the white pine was once referred to as the Tree of Peace. For me, this deep-rooted symbolism plays out in a subtle way every day. As I rush to and from the Davisville subway station, commuting between my home and work, I look for this tree and it brings me a moment of peace. I’m grateful that it is a constant companion in my daily routine.