A friend was inspired by another piece I had done for a wedding and wanted me to design something similar for her mom for Mother’s Day. She wanted elements in the piece to symbolize those connected to her mother—her children, grandchildren, and children-in-law (those who had married her children)—and she requested that the theme work around a tree. If you’ve read my other posts, you know how much I love to do trees, so I was very glad for this opportunity!
You can see the design and colors in the photos, so I will limit myself to explaining how I decided on the symbolism throughout the piece. I should add that this is my friend’s stepmother, who has loved and supported her as a mother (I can relate being a totally loved stepchild myself); I think this makes the symbolism all the more meaningful. The tree represents who the mother is to her family, complete with swirling branches that reach right off of the page, to show the immeasruable vastness of the influence of her love on her family and on future generations. The long, rugged roots represent the strong foundation she has laid for her family. The 7 apples on the tree represent her 7 children… who have grown directly under her care and support. The 4 bluebirds on the tree represent the 4 spouses of her children… they have not come directly from the tree, but have joined the scene happily and make the picture more beautiful and complete. The 5 saplings springing up from the ground below, of course, represent the next generation—her 5 grandchildren—thriving under the shade and protection of the tree. Each sapling is topped with a small, white heart to represent the special blessing the newest generation has inherited, being born into such a loving and supportive family. Finally, the butterfly—a perfect picture of the connectivity of changes and crises that occur throughout a lifetime that result in something unspeakably complex, delicate, and beautiful.