This week in art – Daniel 4

Daniel 4
Fig. 1

Every week I am taking the time to discuss one of the art pieces that I, or me and my son, have created. I go through the thought process, the influences, the technique, etc. I am hoping that this post will help you better understand the origin of my art and admire all of its intricacies.

This week’s piece has been inspired by a story in the Bible. The story can be found in Daniel 4:10-12. The piece is 11 inches x 17 inches in size and it has been created using pens and soft chalk. It is entitled; “Daniel 4”.

When I first started this piece, I didn’t have a preconceived idea of what I was going to reproduce. I drew a couple of shapes and lines here and there, taking a step back from time to time, and then back at it. After a couple of shapes and lines drawn on the canvas, I saw exactly what I needed to create. At that time, I’ve just finished reading the book of Daniel in the Bible and Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a tree that is described in the book of Daniel chapter 4 verses 10 to 12 really did an impression on me:

Daniel 4:10-12 New International Version (NIV)

10 These are the visions I saw while lying in bed: I looked, and there before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. 11 The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. 12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.

Daniel 4
Fig. 2

The tree was taking form (Fig.1), at that point I was really excited because when I read the passage, I remember vividly all the images that came into my head. There it was, this huge tree with all sort of birds and fruits in its foliage. The tree was so colorful and bright and under it, all of the animals of the earth being fed by those fruits. It was amazing. I wanted to show this on paper, I wanted to share my vision of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.


So I went on and continued working on the development of the trunk of the tree. I wanted to make sure that it would give the impression of a huge tree trunk, that is why I decided to have the roots spread wide. that way, when the base is huge, you get the feel of a huge tree. Then when I took a step back, I kind of regretted drawing the trunk in a purple color. (Fig.2) After looking at it for a little while, I believed that there was a reason for it to be purple, so I went on with the drawing.

I didn’t put to much details in the trunk as I wanted to leave some space for me to be inspired in the coloring phase of the piece and I also wanted to let the white space work in the mind of the spectator to help him or her, sculpt the tree. When I took a step back, It kind of looked like a hand. As if the hand was reaching for the sky. It amazed me how the hand looked crooked and tortured by time and yet, great fruits will come out of this tree and feed other living creatures.

Now that my tree trunk (arm & hand) was created, I had to add the foliage on the tree and I wanted to make sure that it his huge, because it is supposed to be a huge tree. Having the foliage inside the canvas would’ve been a mistake. If I wanted this to be huge just like in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, I had to explode on the sides, which I did. (fig.3)

Daniel 4
Fig. 3

Although, creating the foliage with only one color, that did not do it for me. I didn’t believe that the impression of grandeur was conveyed with just one color in the foliage. I had to add more colors and more details of leaves in the tree to create this huge tree top that contains all of the fruits and all of the birds as it says in verse 12:

Daniel 4:12 New International Version (NIV)

12 Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed.

So leaving it at just one color, that was just not an option. So I chose a different variant of the green pens that I had in my possession and started creating a different set of leaves to make the foliage look a little bit more full.

So now that my foliage was fuller, It was time for me to draw the fruits and birds in the branches. I had to make a decision here to see if I was going to draw the birds in different colors or use the same color for the fruits and birds in the tree in a different taint of green. Seeing that I didn’t want to create confusion with too much color in the foliage, I decided to go ahead with the lather decision. Which I believe, was the perfect option. (fig.4 & 5)

Once the top of the tree was done I was left with little space for the animals. I wanted to included a nice sky horizon color but I also wanted to create some animals underneath the tree to represent what was said in verse 12. I admit, this little problem took me a little while to figure out. After a couple of days, I came back and said to myself, why wouldn’t the animals help me create the sky horizon? So I separated the horizon sky in three horizontal sections to which each had a different taint of blue. (Fig.6)

I tried to include as much animals as possible in those limited spaces. I believe that I have included over 20 animals in that little space and the different coloring also helped to create an illusion of grandeur. (Fig. 7)

Then came the coloring phase. I especially enjoyed the coloring of this one because I really put an emphasis on creating shadows. I liked the treatment of the tree trunk, the roots and the ground. As for the foliage, I believe it came out okay. You really have to get a closer look to see the fruits and the birds though. (Fig.8)

When I was done. I took a step back and I really loved what I was looking at. As I posted it on facebook, my mother in law called me and asked: “How much?” She immediately  bought it off of me. I love staring at this piece when I visit as it gives me peace of mind and the colors work so well together.

I hope you enjoyed reading on this piece as much as I had to create it.

Until next time, be creative!


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