Arkansas Champion Trees Exhibit at FPL

Artist Linda Williams Palmer’sArkansas Champion Trees: An Artist’s Journey, a collection of eighteen large scale colored pencil drawings along with 18 documentary photographs of champion trees around the Natural State, will be on display at the Fayetteville Public Library in the Reading Room until February 9th.

Palmer’s series of drawings which resemble oversized botanical drawings are subtle yet complex with attention paid to genus and species exceeding the demands of scientific illustration. Palmer’s attention to detail can be seen in her interpretation of the season, location, historical context and human connection in each piece. For example, in the drawing Sugar Maple (Civil War Cemetery, Washington County, Fayetteville) (60"H x 38 ¼"H) the tree stands in the foreground, the trunk all weather beaten in winter, with only shadows of its branches amidst the cemetery headstones as evidence of its champion crown.

Beyond the hours of studio time to create the pencil art, Palmer spent much of her time traveling over 7,000 miles to document each champion tree and get to know the people living near these trees. In the accompanying photos, Palmer has captured families, individuals, and communities beside each champion to depict the champion in its surroundings, which also gives an observer a sense of the magnitude of size of these magnificent trees. Her photos and drawing combine to reach her ultimate goal of depicting the tree as a distinctive botanical example and a witness to the events that have surrounded it.

The Arkansas Champion Trees exhibit is a unique opportunity for people of multiple generations to enjoy the references to history and science as well as appreciate our state’s natural resources. “We wanted to bring this exhibit to the Fayetteville Public Library because the drawings are amazing in themselves and people of all ages will relate to them. Children will relate to the colorful pencil strokes, and adults will enjoy the memories of childhood the images will evoke,” commented David Johnson, Executive Director of the Fayetteville Public Library.
The traveling exhibit was made possible through generous contributions by Champion Sponsors: The Plum Creek Foundation, Domtar, and the Williams-Palmer Family; and the Medalist Sponsors Robyn and John Horn, with individual donations from those who appreciate the arts, education, and Arkansas’ Champion Trees. The exhibit is organized for travel by the Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Linda Palmer is an experienced Arkansas artist, who opened her first art studio and gallery in Ft. Smith in 1985 and currently maintains her studio and gallery in Hot Springs: the Linda Palmer Gallery, 800 Central Avenue, Hot Springs National Park. Awarded “Signature Status” in 2006 by the Colored Pencil Society of America, Palmer’s work has been selected for numerous juried exhibitions and collections across the country and in Europe.
The exhibit is free and open to the public during library hours. For more information contact Brandi Holt at (479) 856-7105.