Editor's note: The Cheekwood--Tennessee Botanical Garden and Museum of Art provided source material to Resource Library for the following article or essay. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the Cheekwood--Tennessee Botanical Garden and Museum of Art directly through either this phone number or web address:


Charles Brindley: Trees of Myth and Legend

February 4 - April 19, 2015


The Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art is hosting Charles Brindley: Trees of Myth and Legend from February 4 through April 19, 2015. The exhibition is in honor of its Level IV Arboretum status. Rooted with an exhibition in Cheekwood's Museum of Art, featuring works by noted landscape artist Charles Brindley, the celebration ties together Tennessee's Arbor Day, National Arbor Day, and Tu B'Shevat, Jewish Arbor Day, or "the New Year for Trees" with a wide variety of education and public programs guaranteed to delight tree lovers of all ages. (right: Charles Brindley, Ancient Red Oak on Edge of an Agricultural Landscape, on canvas, 30x40 inches, 2008, collection of Nazanin and Jamshid Khnoshnoodi)

With approximately 70 drawings and paintings, Trees of Myth and Legend is a fitting tribute to an artist who has dedicated much of his career to bringing viewers into communion with the trees and landscape of Tennessee. Brindley's highly representational drawings and paintings mesmerize viewers with their level of detail and multi-layered composition, capturing both the ageless beauty and fragility of nature.

"Brindley's highly representational drawings and paintings mesmerize viewers with their multi-layered abstract elements, capturing both the ageless beauty and fragility of nature," said Jochen Wierich, Curator for Cheekwood's Museum of Art. "We are thrilled to unveil his recent drawing of our venerable chinquapin oak tree at the end of the Swan Lawn that was created specifically for this exhibit."

"We couldn't have chosen a better artist to help us celebrate trees," said Jane MacLeod, President & CEO of Cheekwood. "We are honored to welcome Charles Brindley back to Cheekwood, and encourage our members and guests to find inspiration in his masterful depiction of nature and in the trees that make Cheekwood the spectacular arboretum it is today."

Brindley held his first exhibition at Cheekwood in 1982 and exhibited as part of the Temporary/Contemporary series in 1996. In addition to the drawings of Cheekwood's historic Swan Lawn Oak Tree, Brindley will exhibit other new work and many tree-related drawings and paintings from the past three decades, including his studies of trees at Glen Leven, the staircase at the Tennessee Governor's Residence and the Wisteria Arbor at Cheekwood. This will be the first time all the drawings of Cheekwood's mansion that Brindley made between 1999 and 2000 will be exhibited together in one room. Last year, Charles Brindley exhibited works at Glen Leven and will also exhibit works in 2015 at Belmont University.

A Celebration of Trees Activities and Events:

Lunch & Lecture
Tu B'Shevat: The New Year of Trees
Thursday, January 15, 2015
12:00 pm
Tu B'Shevat in Israel; a tree with a Jewish origin as roots, innovation as its trunk and modern agriculture and environmental awareness as fruits. Tu B'Shevat, "New Year of the Trees", is a Jewish holiday, celebrated on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. It occured this year on February 4th, 2015. In modern Israel, the holiday is still the cut-off date in the Hebrew calendar for calculating the age of a fruit-bearing tree and is also significant its focus on environmental awareness. The lecture discussed the Jewish religious origin of the holiday, the ways we celebrate and speak about it in Israel and, since Tu B'Shevat marks the revival of nature, the lecture explored the modern agriculture and Israeli innovations in this field.
Guided Exhibition Tour
Charles Brindley: Trees of Myth and Legend
Saturdays & Sundays, beginning February 7
1:30 pm
Join one of Cheekwood's knowledgeable docents for an interpretive and educational tour of Charles Brindley's exhibition Trees of Myth and Legend.
Guided Arboretum Tours
Saturdays, March 21 - April 25
11:30 am
A walk among Cheekwood's magnificent dogwoods is one of Nashville's favorite spring rituals! Expert garden guides to explore over 14 species and 23 cultivated varieties of dogwoods as well as many other flowering trees.
Lunch & Lecture
Charles Brindley: Exploring Creative Process through Quality of Emotion Experience
Thursday, February 19
12:00 pm
Charles Brindley discussed his current exhibition, Trees of Myth and Legend. Charles Brindley is best known for exquisite rendering of his best-loved subject: trees. With approximately 100 drawings and paintings, Trees of Myth and Legend is a fitting tribute to an artist who has dedicated much of his painting career to bringing viewers into communion with the trees and landscape of Tennessee. The artist addressed the broader creative process of personal journey through quality of emotion experience and the value of being alone with a subject. Guests learned to incorporate these processes into daily life to develop an appreciation for the inspiration waiting just beyond our own doors.
Tuesdays for Tots
TREEmendous Art
Tuesday, March 3
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
A totally tree-mendous decoration in celebration of Tennessee's Arbor Day on March 6.
Lunch & Lecture
Dogwoods: Great Plants for Southern Gardens
Thursday, March 19
12:00 pm
Ask people what their favorite flowering tree is in the South, and dogwoods are sure to be near the top of their list. As the North American collection holder for dogwoods, Cheekwood displays dogwood species from around the world. A lecture will discuss some of the best dogwood choices for middle Tennessee. Guests won't believe the incredible diversity of shapes, sizes, blooms, and fall color that can be found in the dogwood genus!
Drawing Workshop with Charles Brindley
Wednesday, April 8
10:00 am - 4:30 pm
*The class will break for lunch mid-day. Participants are encouraged to pack a lunch or to get food close by.
Instructor: Charles Brindley
Enjoy a special workshop with renowned artist, Charles Brindley, in honor of his exhibition, Trees of Myth and Legend, in the Museum of Art. Spend the day learning drawing techniques from an accomplished artist on Cheekwood's historic grounds and studios. The day will begin with a presentation discussing 'branchology', perspective, fundamentals of drawing, and creative process. A majority of the day will be outside, working directly from trees, architecture, or botanicals. The class will then return inside to concentrate on refining skills and wrap up. Don't miss this opportunity to work one-on-one with the artist of the current exhibition!
Professional Development Workshop for Teachers
Project Learning Tree (preregistration required)
Saturday, April 11
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an environmental education program that uses the outdoors as a classroom. Through interactive lessons, teachers will gain awareness and knowledge of the natural world, using our native forests as a foundation. Activities focus on engaging students in hands-on experiences that develop problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Cheekwood in Bloom
Arbor Day Celebration
Saturday, April 25
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Celebrate National Arbor Day and the blooming trees of spring at Cheekwood! Join us for family-friendly, interactive performances and activities focusing on all things tree-related, including tree climbing, art activities, and tree seedlings available for transplanting at home. Additionally, demonstrations and tours will highlight tree care, tree protection, where trees come from and what they give us.


(above: Charles Brindley, Beech Tree in Summer - Spirit of the Greenwood, on canvas, 40x48 inches, 2007, collection of Gayley and Bob Patterson)


(above: Charles Brindley, The Angel Oak, on canvas, 36x60 inches, 2010-11, collection of Heidi and John Hassenfeld)


(above: Charles Brindley, Old Beech Tree at the Edge of an Old Forest, on linen, 18x24 inches, 2012)


To view introductory wall panel text, please click here.

To view other wall panel texts, please click here.

To view the catalogue for the exhibition including checklist and essays by Jochen Wierich, Ph.D., Chief Curator at Cheekwood, and Robert McGrath, Professor of Art History, Emeritus, at Dartmouth College, please click here.

To view extended labels for the exhibition please click here.


Resource Library editor's notes:

For definitions of wall panels, catalogues, checklists and object labels, please see Definitions in Museums Explained.

The above article with .pdf attachments was published on March 9, 2015 in Resource Library with permission of Cheekwood, granted to TFAO on March 9, 2015. Resource Library wishes to extend appreciation to Claire Corby of Cheekwood for her help concerning permission to publish the wall panel, catalogue and object label images.

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