Pakistani culture as an inspiration for a custom family tree created for a parents’ 60th anniversary
Painting family trees is a pretty fun job to begin with, but there are 3 particular things that make it really exciting. I’m never bored since I get to learn new things every time I’m working on a new family tree project. I REALLY get to use my imagination because I have to constantly come up with unique art for each one of my clients. But the best thing about being a family tree artist is being constantly reminded that long-lasting love still exists, and it’s possible to be happily married to someone for decades. I was reminded of all three while working on one of my recent projects.
I got an order for a custom family tree for a client’s parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. My client informed me that his parents live in Pakistan, the fact that I got really excited about. Whenever I work on a family tree that’s going to another country I view it as an opportunity to discover something new about that country’s art, culture and history. I try to familiarize myself with the country my family tree art is going to as much as I can in hopes to get inspired to create a painting that not only represents a family, but also reflects the family tree recipient(s) culture and heritage.
Pakistan… I sat down and thought about everything I know about Pakistan: borders with Afghanistan, a nuclear nation, disputes Kashmir with India, was at one point led by Benazir Bhutto, a woman that as a little girl I found very inspiring… Not much to go by artistically …to say the least. So I sat down in front of my computer and did an extensive search on Pakistani traditional, decorative and modern art. I discovered a wealth of visual information to inspire me. There were bright colors (which I absolutely LOVE!), floral motifs, and geometric repetitive patterns and shapes. As I was continuing with my search, a painting started to shape in my head. This family tree was going to be different! It wouldn’t look so much as a real tree. It was going to be more decorative. The painting would have beautiful bright colors, branches with soft curvy lines, and paisley leaf inspired leaves with names written in font reminiscent of the Urdu letters.
…and that’s what I did.
The tree came out looking very different from my other family tree paintings. One thing that was VERY different about this particular family tree was the fact that I made the tree in the painting ‘grow’ out of a lake. Reason being that my client’s parents favorite spot to vacation is Dal Lake, a place I’ve never heard of before, but found breathtakingly beautiful. It has bright colored houses on it’s banks and there are very distinct looking bright boats gliding all over it’s surface. So I made a choice to place the couple celebrating their anniversary in a boat, and used the lake as the background for the painting.
Since there are 8 children in the family, and I wanted to make sure that it’s clear whose family is whose I assigned different color leaves to each ‘sibling branch’. I kept the colors bright and cheerful throughout the painting, and for inspiration I continuously referred to the pieces of Pakistani art I found particularly interesting.
This family tree painting turned out to be a really unique experience for me. Working on a painting for a couple across the world is always mind-blowing, but what I liked the most about this project had nothing to do with how far Pakistan is geographic located from the U.S.. What I loved the most was seeing photos of this couple who were about to celebrate THEIR 60TH ANNIVERSARY! In most of the photos they sat side by side, sometimes holding hands… They just looked so happy and content next to each other. After 6 decades together that is! Thinking about that still makes me smile. I want that! I want everyone to have that! What could be more beautiful than having your partner next to you after a lifetime together and still wanting to hold his or her hand…
***If you have a special occasion coming up and are considering one of my custom family tree paintings as a unique gift to give to a special someone (or a couple: parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle, close friends celebrating their anniversary), please don’t hesitate to contact me to request more information.