Yew trees are quite odd trees. They evolved earlier than most of the other familiar British trees – oaks or beeches, say – which suggests that their oddities may be ancient traits that other, more modern trees, didn’t need: aerial roots, branches that take root, the potential to live to a stupendously great age (yews can live for thousands of years)…
While perhaps most familar in churchyards and hedges, yews are also found growing wild and there are a few remnants of ancient yew forests to be found in southern England. One such is at Newlands Corner and Merrow Down, near Guildford. It was there that I found this tree, hollowed by age and displaying the likenesses of a multitude of fantastic creatures. This is a deliberately loose rendering, using coloured inks chosen to echo the wonderful reds, greens and purples of yew bark, dripped and dribbled down the page in mimicry of the distinctive ribbed trunk.
inks on watercolour paper (Bockingford HP), A3.
Mounted and framed in white wood (frame size 16″ x 20″).