A 200 year old Ash Tree, named Betty, in Ashwellthorpe Wood, Norfolk, has become important in the fight against Chalara fraxinea, the Ash Dieback fungal disease. Already there have been over 1,000 reported cases of the disease and Great Britain is set to lose over 50% of its Ash trees. Betty has been found to have a high tolerance to the disease and, using material from her, research on genetic markers is taking place at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. Ewan has drawn Betty and some of her neighbours.
Find out more about the John Innes Centre here.
Ewan is now working, as an artist, with the John Innes Centre to illustrate issues such as Ash Dieback and to support its charitable pursuits.
The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology.
Our mission is to generate knowledge of plants and microbes through innovative research, to train scientists for the future, to apply our knowledge of nature’s diversity to benefit agriculture, the environment, human health and wellbeing, and engage with policy makers and the public.
To achieve these goals we establish pioneering long-term research objectives in plant and microbial science, with a focus on genetics. These objectives include promoting the translation of research through partnerships to develop improved crops and to make new products from microbes and plants for human health and other applications. We also create new approaches, technologies and resources that enable research advances and help industry to make new products. The knowledge, resources and trained researchers we generate help global societies address important challenges including providing sufficient and affordable food, making new products for human health and industrial applications, and developing sustainable bio-based manufacturing.
This provides a fertile environment for training the next generation of plant and microbial scientists, many of whom go on to careers in industry and academia, around the world.
The John Innes Centre is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). In 2015-2016 the John Innes Centre received a total of £30.1 million from the BBSRC.
The John Innes Centre is also supported by the John Innes Foundation through provision of research accommodation and long term support of the Rotation PhD programme.
The John Innes Centre is the winner of the BBSRC’s 2013 – 2016 Excellence With Impact award.
The Museum Gardens were established as a botanic garden by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society within the grounds of St Mary’s Abbey, founded by the Benedictines, which since the Dissolution has become a picturesque set of ruins. The abiding botanic element in the gardens has been the Arboretum. Ewan is drawing some of the rare trees to illustrate a book on the history of the gardens.
A Callery pear tree was planted by the World Trade Centre in the 1970’s. On 11th of September 2001, as the Twin Towers collapsed, it was smashed, burned and covered in debris. The remains, with broken and torn branches and roots, were recovered in October and transported to the New York Parks Department’s nursery in the Bronx. The tree measured a mere 8 feet in height.
After some nine years of nurture, the Callery pear, now 30 feet high, was returned to Ground Zero on 21st December 2010. Today it is a beautiful tree, spectacular in flower, a fitting memorial to survival, resilience and rebirth.
The birthplace of Thomas Gainsborough in Sudbury, Suffolk, is a particularly beautiful house, dating from 1520. Gainsborough was born in 1727, the youngest of nine children, and went on to become one of the greatest landscape painters, the inspiration for Constable and, in 1768, a founder member of the Royal Academy.
The house was opened to the public in 1961, as a museum and gallery with a wide selection of Gainsborough’s landscapes and portraits. It is an extraordinarily stimulating setting in which to view the pictures. The house also has an oasis of peace in its walled garden, in which are several fine trees including a 400 year old Black Mulberry, a Quince and a Medlar. In this memorable place, Ewan has drawn these three trees.
His drawings will be available on various cards at Gainsborough’s House (46, Gainsborough Street, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2EU: www.gainsborough.org; tel. 01787 372958 ). Prints may be ordered directly from Ewan.
The Live Oak, specifically the southern variety (Quercus virginiana), is the iconic tree of the old American South. When mature, these trees can be of immense proportions, typically over 60ft tall and 80ft wide. The great branches are commonly draped with Spanish moss, an epiphyte which is neither Spanish nor moss. Live oaks are seen to particular advantage on St Simon’s Island where they were once harvested to provide the framework for the USS Constitution. It is recorded that the British cannon balls bounced off the oak. The Live Oak is the official state tree of Georgia.
Ewan is fortunate in having been able to spend part of the last four summers on St Simon’s Island drawing these magnificent trees.
The Durham Wildlife Trust covers the area from the Tyne to the Tees. For its Veteran Trees Project, the Trust has selected 52 veteran and ancient trees with the aim of raising public awareness of them in terms of national heritage and biodiversity. A veteran tree is defined as a tree in the second phase of life, when it has reached full maturity and is beginning to die back.
They are mostly very large, characterful trees, which can often take more than a day to draw. As Resident Tree Artist, Ewan has so far drawn nine of the trees, three of which can be seen below.
For more information on Durham Wildlife Trust, please visit www.durhamwt.com.
From Wildlife Durham Winter 2015 with the kind permission of Durham Wildlife Trust
The Nature in Art Gallery and Museum, located just north of Gloucester, is unique. It demonstrates the links between Nature and art in a series of galleries which include pictures in every medium, sculpture, ceramics, pottery, metalwork etc. The works of most well known nature artists are represented.
The Gallery has gardens with magnificent mature trees and a wide range of sculptures. However, perhaps the most interesting tree is the smallest. It is a Kaki tree (Diospyros kaki), the only tree to survive effects of the Atomic Bomb in Nagasaki.
During his period as Artist in Residence (21st until 26th July, 2015), Ewan was particularly pleased to be able to draw the Kaki tree.
Find out more about the Nature in Art Gallery and Museum at http://natureinart.org.uk.
Ewan visited Sidmouth Arboretum in May and attended Tree Day where he discussed and demonstrated tree drawing between lectures.
A majestic Sweet Chestnut in the Arboretum
During the visit, Ewan was invited to be Artist to the Sidmouth Arboretum and to provide a series of drawings of the Arboretum’s notable trees. It is hoped that these drawings would support the Arboretum in its various projects which range from conservation to education. He has so far made a rough survey of the Arboretum and drawn 13 trees.
Sidmouth is the only town anywhere to have a civic arboretum. It covers all the land under the jurisdiction of the Town Council and includes a wide variety of trees with several rare and unusual species. Find out more at www.sidmoutharboretum.org.uk.
Trees in themselves can be memorable. However, since time immemorial, trees have been planted to provide remembrance of people, places and events. Ewan has been drawing examples of such trees to help raise funds for the places concerned.
In his latest exhibition, trees representing three charitable organisations have been shown at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust Centre in Washington. The originals have been donated to the charities and the proceeds from the sale of prints have been divided between them and the WWT. Apart from Slimbridge, Washington is the only WWT Centre to have a wildlife gallery.
Silver Birch at St Edmund Hall, Oxford
The charities involved have been:
- St Mary the Virgin church, Old Seaham,one of the oldest churches in the country, dating back to at least the 7th century;
- St Mary Magdalene church, Debenham, a large East Anglian church, dating from the 11th century and one of the very few dedicated to Mary Magdalene; and
- St Edmund Hall, Oxford, a college of the university which claims to be “the oldest academical society for the education of undergraduates in any university”. It is named after St Edmund of Abingdon, the founder of the university.
If your organisation is interested in raising funds in this way, please contact Ewan.