Cri de Coeur acrylic painting of a tree by Rhia Janta-Cooper

How Paintings of Trees Can Help You With Climate Change Awareness


The story is a real scream from my heart and awareness of climate change as I have depicted it in my paintings of trees.
This beautiful, huge, unique, mighty, and healthy cherry tree was peacefully growing in a reasonably quiet roundabout in Pontefract. The tree was a distinctive feature, a prominent landmark, in the southern part of the town.

I was frequently visiting, greeting, and photographing the tree on my daily walks with Harvey and planning shortly to paint few paintings of trees, especially of this unique cherry tee.

Knowing that this extraordinary tree was growing in a roundabout… there were thoughts in the back of my mind... It is difficult to explain, but there was always a suspicion or fear that the tree might be put away one day. I felt happy every time I've seen it. It was standing firm, looking powerful, and holding its mighty branches towards the sky—a beautiful sight.

The saddest, worst, most terrible day in my life, 24th June 2019… suddenly there was no tree… suddenly I saw this beauty stripped of all branches, only a stump… Shock!

People were working around (actually, they were having a cosy breakfast break)! I wanted to run towards them and plaid to stop what they were doing! No. No way. I realised that. I was too late! I wanted to scream! I did not. I was stunned, aghast, appalled, unable to get a word out, speechless. Actually, I still am.

Back at home, I explained why I was so upset. I knew it was too late to do anything, but my husband called some responsible places in Wakefield. After a few weeks of phone calls and many emails, the "killer" of the tree was sitting in our living room.

I call him "killer" because I am angry and not rational, OK? He is indeed a friendly person -  an arborist. He gave us a lot of information. He spoke something about disliking to cut branches of trees or pruning them because it causes too much stress. I understand. So, cutting the entire tree down is less stressful for the tree! Right?
He told us that they have in the past pruned the tree not correctly. For me, this is not a reason to kill a tree!
He also said something about illness and the tree. Something about fungi and Chicken of the Woods!

OK, Chicken of the Woods is a dangerous fungus for a tree and possibly can lead to its collapse. This is true, and it can be hazardous. However, the disease is prominently visible through its appearance as a striking golden-yellow shelf-like formation.

Sorry, I had many recent photographs showing no sign of this sort of fungi on the cherry tree trunk, or anywhere close or above or just NOT AT ALL, and the arborist didn't have any visual proof for his judgment… No pictures, no nothing.

I was very disappointed and OK; we cannot make the tree whole again. The tree is gone. Finito! That's all. In any case, it was a pointless visit because we couldn't glue the tree back together, could we?

What could we have done to save the tree? If the tree was a traffic hazard, they could divert the traffic, or instead of having a roundabout, they could use partially diversion and traffic lights. Yes, any solution would not be easy and would not be cheap!

IT IS MUCH EASIER, CHEAPER, FASTER TO CUT DOWN A TREE! It is much more convenient, cheaper and faster to burn the whole Amazon rainforest too!


They help us to slow down climate change and improve the quality of our lives.
Go through and experience my paintings dedicated to this enormous and beautiful cherry tree here and here.

P.S. I haven't visited this place where the tree stood ever again. I just can't do it! It could break my heart afresh again.