Monday, November 9, 2009

Tree Structure nears completion

Jeff Atkisson invited me to climb to the top of the trees if I wanted but I had already started this sketch and I suspect I didn't have the nerve. The trees have 15 tiers and the workers are working on tier 12 at this point. When this structure is complete railings are added to each row and then panels are hung from those railings which have many strands of Christmas tree lights. Jeff explained that there are about 111 miles of Christmas tree lights that are attached to the panels. All the lights were bought new this year along with tons of replacement bulbs. Previously lights were stripped in as strands died out and this resulted in bulbs of very different colors being mixed together over time. Now all the blue bulbs are very much the same color of blue throughout. Derrick Mckenzie was in charge of assembling all 270 of the new panels and getting all that wiring to work. He had the help of about 70 volunteers and it took them over a month to assemble all the panels. All the panels had colored lights arranged exactly the same so when Jeff programs then the lights can be triggered to that the tree become all one color or multiple colors can be lit at once creating stunning effects. Jeff will be able to make the tree for instance light up all green with those lights sweeping upward in a strong diagonal. This really has to be seen to be believed. I have only seen the effect on the small model tree but it is amazing.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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