Fifty Trees Artist Book

I created this artist book as a quiet exploration of the state trees of the United States. 44 pages, 6.25 x 9.25 x 1.5″, 2 variable copies made.

Fifty Trees book by Emily Longbrake, 2018

Materials & tools:

  • Inkjet-printable synthetic vellum
  • Water-based monoprint pigments and media
  • Pen-and-ink drawings on bond paper
  • Digitization of drawings with Adobe Illustrator
  • Scanning of monoprints with an HP LaserJet Pro 200 color MFP
  • Page imposition with Adobe InDesign
  • Laser printing on top of monoprints with an HP LaserJet Pro 200 color MFP
  • Hand-binding with cotton thread using single sheet coptic stitch

Quotations about tree species:

Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.
Berg, Peter editor. Reinhabiting a Separate Country: A Bioregional Anthology of Northern California. San Francisco: Planet Drum Foundation, 1978. Attributed to John Muir.

The pine tree seems to listen, the fir tree to wait: and both without impatience:  they give no thought to the little people beneath them devoured by their impatience and their curiosity.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits. 1878.

In snowbound, voiceless mountain depths, to herald spring, pine trees sound in tune.
String of Beads: Complete Poems of Princess Shikishi. 1200

Around in silent grandeur stood the stately children of the wood.
Maple and elm and towering pine mantled in folds of dark woodbine.
Dorr, Julia C. R. “At the Gate,” Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations. New York, London: Funk & Wagnalls company, 1922.

Night hovers all day in the boughs of the fir tree.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays: Second Series, 1844

An oak is no respecter of persons.
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac. London; New York: Oxford University Press, 1949.

And the poorest twig on the elm-tree was ridged inch deep with pearl.
Lowell, James Russell. “Love,” The Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell. Boston, J.R. Osgood, 1871.

Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway. The trees had been stripped by a recent wind of their white covering of frost, and they seemed to lean towards each other, black and ominous, in the fading light. A vast silence reigned over the land.
London, Jack. White Fang. New York :Tom Doherty Associates, 1989.

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
Muir, John. John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir; edited by Linnie Marsh Wolfe (1938, reprinted by University of Wisconsin Press, 1979). Quote from July 1890, page 313.

And in the afternoon they entered a land – but such a land! A land hung in mourning, darkened by gigantic cypresses, submerged; a land of reptiles, silence, shadow, decay.
Cable, George Washington. The Grandissimes: A Story of Creole Life. Scribener’s Monthly, Vol. 29, 1880.

The maple tree that night without wind or rain let go its leaves because its time had come.
McCarthy, Eugene. “The Maple Tree.” Cool Reflections. Owings Mills, Maryland, 1997.

The stripped and shapely maple grieves the ghosts of her departed leaves. The ground is hard, as hard as stone. The year is old. The birds have flown.
Updike, John. “November,” A Child’s Calendar: Poems. Live Oak Media, 2004.

Heed not the night; a summer lodge amid the wild is mine— ’Tis shadowed by the tulip-tree, ’tis mantled by the vine.
Bryant, William Cullen. “The Strange Lady,” Poems. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1840.

The seed was sown—it budded—it blossomed—attained maturity;
It spread out—and budded again and joined line to line—
Like the candle-nut strung on one stem;
‘Tis lighted—it burns aglow and sheds its light around o’er the land.
Translation of the “Tako” [song] by S. Savage. Dr. Wyatt Gill’s papers. Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 21, No. 2. New Plymouth, New Zealand: 1912.

O had the monster seen those lily hands tremble like aspen leaves upon a lute.
Shakespeare, William. Titus Andronicus. 1564-1616

The birch trees loom ahead like a brotherhood of ghosts.
Sandell, Lisa Ann. Song of the Sparrow, 2007. New York: Scholastic Press, 2001.

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don’t fence me in
Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breeze
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don’t fence me in
Porter, Cole. “Don’t Fence Me In.” New York: Harms, 1945.

Did the palo verde blush yellow all at once?
Armantrout, Rae. “Unbidden,” Middletown, Wesleyan University Press, 2010.


State trees:

State Tree Scientific Name Date Adopted
Alabama Longleaf Pine Pinus palustris 1949
Alaska Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis 1962
Arizona Blue Palo Verde Parkinsonia florida 1954
Arkansas Loblolly Pine Pinus taeda 1939
California Coast Redwood / Giant Sequoia Sequoia sempervirens / Sequoiadendron giganteum 1937
Colorado Colorado Blue Spruce Picea pungens 1939
Connecticut White Oak “See Also: Charter Oak Quercus alba 1947
Delaware American Holly Ilex opaca 1939
Florida Sabal Palm Sabal palmetto 1953
Georgia Southern Live Oak Quercus virginiana 1937
Hawaii Candlenut Tree Aleurites moluccanus 1959
Idaho Western White Pine Pinus monticola 1935
Illinois White Oak Quercus alba 1973
Indiana Tulip Tree Liriodendron tulipifera 1931
Iowa Bur Oak Quercus macrocarpa 1961
Kansas Eastern Cottonwood Populus deltoides 1937
Kentucky Tulip-tree Liriodendron tulipifera 1956
Louisiana Bald Cypress Taxodium distichum 1963
Maine Eastern White Pine Pinus strobus 1945
Maryland White Oak Quercus alba 1941
Massachusetts American Elm Ulmus americana 1941
Michigan Eastern White Pine Pinus strobus 1955
Minnesota Red Pine Pinus resinosa 1953
Mississippi Southern Magnolia Magnolia grandiflora 1952
Missouri Flowering Dogwood Cornus florida 1955
Montana Ponderosa Pine Pinus ponderosa 1949
Nebraska Eastern Cottonwood Populus deltoides 1972
Nevada Bristlecone Pine Pinus longaeva 1987
New Hampshire American White Birch Betula papyrifera 1947
New Jersey Northern Red Oak Quercus rubra 1950
New Mexico Piñon Pine Pinus edulis 1949
New York Sugar Maple Acer saccharum 1956
North Carolina Longleaf Pine Pinus palustris 1963
North Dakota American Elm Ulmus americana 2007
Ohio Ohio Buckeye Aesculus glabra 1953
Oklahoma Eastern Redbud Cercis canadensis 1937
Oregon Douglas-fir Pseudotsuga menziesii 1939
Pennsylvania Eastern Hemlock Tsuga canadensis 1931
Rhode Island Red Maple Acer rubrum 1964
South Carolina Sabal Palm Sabal palmetto 1939
South Dakota Black Hills Spruce Picea glauca 1947
Tennessee Tulip-tree Liriodendron tulipifera 1947
Texas Pecan Carya illinoinensis 1919
Utah Quaking Aspen Populus tremuloides 2014
Vermont Sugar Maple Acer saccharum 1949
Virginia Flowering dogwood Cornus florida 1956
Washington Western Hemlock Tsuga heterophylla 1947
West Virginia Sugar Maple Acer saccharum 1949
Wisconsin Sugar Maple Acer saccharum 1949
Wyoming Plains Cottonwood Populus deltoides 1947