Mark T Smith

Arbor Day Foundation / Commission 2022

This piece was created for the Arbor Day Foundation to support a campaign entitled “Trees can be…..” The Arbor Day Foundation is an American 501 nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. The Arbor Day Foundation has more than one million members and has planted more than 350 million trees in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world.

My assigned subject is “Trees can be Bold”. 

Mark T Smith “Trees can be bold”. 2022. 30×40 inches mixed media on canvas

My concept for this piece was to illustrate the impact the simple act of planting a tree can have on the global health of the environment. The composition is dominated by a large expressive tree that is penetrating into the sky. The tree starts as a seed planted by a caring hard on the bottom left, that seed sits inside of a cluster of roots and directly above the tree rises out into the landscape. The hand has the letter “L” on the palm. The letter represents the 50 years that Arbor Day Foundation has been impacting our world with its actions. (L is the Roman numeral for 50). The main tree is engaged directly in remediating the pollution in the sky. The pollution is represented by graphic elements for methane, ozone, and formaldehyde molecules. The top of the tree is also addressing global warming represented by the ring of fire that surrounds the polluted sky, circulating air and deflecting harmful elements from reaching the earth. This image also features a factory in the bottom right that has its output being absorbed by the trees. 

This is a cause that I feel especially aligned with as an artist that currently resides in the Pacific Northwest. It is always a pleasure to bring my talents to bear for a worthy organization.

The Arbor Day Foundation “Making of” video for this commission.
Sketch for Arber Day Foundation “Trees can Be Bold” 16×20 inches Graphite on vellum.
Sketch for Arber Day Foundation “Trees can Be Bold 2” 16×20 inches Graphite on vellum.

About Mark T. Smith

Mark T. Smith is a celebrated American painter. He is best known for his colorful, complex paintings and his passion for the application of art into the fabric of everyday life.

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