Nokomis, FL © 2023

Red Silk Cotton Tree
For many years, the town of Nokomis has been blessed with a road filled with Red Silk Cotton trees. The ‘Mother’ of all the trees was a giant Red Silk cotton tree that stood near a small house (seen in my painting & yes that is the true red color of the trees). Every spring I loved walking down Albee Farm Road because of the abundance of large Red Silk Cotton trees that line the road and were over flowing with giant red flowers. It was magnificent! When I learned that one of the stories about the tree is that it symbolizes illumination and enlightenment, I understood my joy much more. Then a developer purchased the property and destroyed every single one of these magnificent trees. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t even save just one. Watching the land leveled that had once been lined with Red Silk Cotton trees has been emotionally challenging. Driving down this street that was once rejoicing with bright red flowers on its trees, and now seeing not one tree left, causes tears to run down my cheeks. Anyway, to honor the Red Silk Cotton trees that once line the road, I hand-painted this ‘mother’ tree. The property, Nokomis Groves, was founded by Perry and Annie Lee Hayes in 1948. They had an abundance of orange groves and a shipping plant for the oranges. They also created a major attraction, the best ice cream in Sarasota County! Lines of folks would stand outside their store just for a taste of their ice cream, so for many of us, it was a sad day when they sold the property to a developer. The big, ancient silk cotton tree in the playground is considered sacred due to its cultural, religious, and historical significance. Culturally and historically, silk-cotton trees have played a pivotal role in the silk trade. Women were integral to the silk trade, as they reared silkworms, fed by the leaves of these trees, took care of the silk threads’ preparation, and weaved the textile while men handled the sale and exchange of these products. This trade of silk, derived from these trees, allowed many communities to thrive and led to Chinese dominance in the luxury goods market, earning it a place of reverence. Furthermore, in many societies such as in ancient India, environmental knowledge and supernatural beliefs are intertwined. Many texts, like the Vedas, dictate that humans should live in harmony with nature. Some species of trees and plants, offering significant value to humans, were revered and thought to be associated with supernatural beings. Cutting these revered trees was viewed as a sinful act, further contributing to their sacred status. Lastly, in animist religions, prevalent in cultures dependent on cultivation, trees are often associated with deities and spirits inhabiting nature, further enhancing the silk-cotton tree’s sacred factor. Even today, these beliefs persist in many parts of Southeast Asia, forming an essential part of various ceremonies and rituals. The Art of Hand Painting Black and White Photographs Photographed with a Sony digital camera and instead of oil painting with Q-tips and cotton balls, Niki was able to paint using Photoshop. Changing from the old-fashioned way of doing her art, to the new ‘fashion’ of using technology was challenging, but she’s enjoying getting back to her own personal expression. Archival Print Making Niki’s open edition gicleé artwork is printed on Sunset Bright Velvet Rag matte finish paper using eight archival inks. A state-of-the-art Epson Stylus Pro printer creates deep, rich dark values that hold subtle detail in the shadows as well as bright vivid colors that are truly tropical.

To begin ordering and to view prices select an image size or you may call us at (941) 486-0811:

Image Size:
Print only:
Unmounted print shipped rolled in a tube. Deckled edge print unless otherwise specified.
Standard Framed:
Framed with Plaskolite OPTIX acrylic, which is crystal clear, lightweight, and shatter-resistant for added protection in a white aluminum Nielsen frame. Mounted to current archival standards using 4-ply acid-free bright white mat board and foam core. Deckled edge print unless otherwise specified.
10 x 14"
10 x 14"
19.375 x 23.375"
14 x 20"
14 x 20"
23.375 x 29.375"
22 x 32"
22 x 32"
31.375 x 41.375"
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