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Birches In Blue
Painting - Watercolor
A scene of mountains and birches reflected in the lake inspired by the Catskills of upstate New York. This painting was done for a dear friend who loves blue, as a remembrance of her former home in the Catskills.
The bark of the birch is excellent to use (especially the inside papery part) for starting a fire when camping - especially in damp conditions.It is also used to make lantern shades, and beautifully worked baskets by some Native American artisans.The bark can also be used for paintings.
The birch symbolizes cleansing of the past,vision quest (Native American practice) and new beginnings.
Birch trees are broadleaved deciduous hardwood trees, of the genus Betula ,part of the family Betulaceae, which also includes alders, hazels, and hornbeams, Birches are closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae.
The name "birch" comes from anold Germanic root, birka, meaning "white, bright; to shine." The rune berkanan is named after the birch.
"Birch species are generally small to medium-sized trees or shrubs, mostly of temperate climates. The simple leaves are alternate, singly or doubly serrate, feather-veined, petiolate and stipulate. They often appear in pairs, but these pairs are really borne on spur-like, two-leaved, lateral branchlets. The fruit is a small samara, although the wings may be obscure in some species. They differ from the alders (Alnus, other genus in the family) in that the female catkins are not woody and disintegrate at maturity, falling apart to release the seeds, unlike the woody, cone-like female alder catkins.
The bark of all birches is characteristically marked with long, horizontal lenticels, and often separates into thin, papery plates, especially upon the paper birch. It is resistant to decay, due to the resinous oil it contains. Its decided color gives the common names gray, white, black, silver and yellow birch to different species.
The buds form early and are full grown by midsummer, all are lateral, no terminal bud is formed; the branch is prolonged by the upper lateral bud. The wood of all the species is close-grained with satiny texture, and capable of taking a fine polish; its fuel value is fair.
Birch is also associated with the feast of Pentecost in Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia, where its branches are used as decoration for churches and homes on this day.Fragrant twigs of silver birch are used in saunas to relax the muscles.Many of the First Nations of North America prized the birch for its bark, which due to its light weight, flexibility, and the ease with which it could be stripped from fallen trees, was often used for the construction of strong, waterproof but lightweight canoes, bowls, and wigwams.
Birch is used as firewood due to its high calorific value per unit weight and unit volume. It burns well, without popping, even when frozen and freshly hewn. The bark will burn very well even when wet because of the oils it contains. With care, it can be split into very thin sheets that will ignite from even the smallest of sparks.
Birch sap is a traditional drink in Northern Europe, Russia, and Northern China. The sap is also bottled and sold commercially. In the British Isles, the sap is often used to make a wine. Birch sap can be used to make birch syrup, which is used like maple syrup for pancakes and waffles. Birch wood can be used to smoke foods."
Perfect for office or waiting room,living room,family room,hallway,dining room or bedroom,library,a country home,inn,bed & breakfast or restaurant.
© 2011 Ellen Lynn Levinson (Ellyn)
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All rights reserved by the artist Ellen Lynn Levinson (Ellyn).
Images may not be reproduced or used in any way without written permission from the artist
April 26th, 2012
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