In all sincerity, I was at a complete loss as to where to begin with this panel. So I started with an outline of the country just to get an image onto the surface and pray that something would come to mind from there. Once I did that, it seemed as though my prayer was answered and the whole design seemed to fall into place. The outline resembled a great big, imposing figure to me. From that point on I wanted to find one major element that would compliment this impression and would also capture something unexpected; something that one wouldn't immediately think of when referring to Germany and the only element that would do is a tree-- and not just any tree, but an oak.

With a little research and much to my delight, I found that oak tree, also known as the Donar Oak, corresponded exactly with what I had in mind. The grand, majestic oak is most significant because of it's direct link to the introduction of Christianity to the Germanic people.

Although the oak had always been held sacred, it gained more importance when the missionary Saint Boniface chopped one down after challenging the Germanic tribes of the area to witness the mighty power of his Christian god. When the oak came down after one swing of his axe and the aid of a gust of wind, and their god Donar (also known as Thor) did not hurl a bolt of lightning at him, Saint Boniface seemed to have performed a great miracle and the tribes agreed to be baptised.

It was obvious to me, with this kind of history, with mention of gods like Thor, bolts of lightning and such, bold strokes and large areas of color were called for. The folk dancers, Maypole ribbons and Donar leaves add a touch of merryment with the hope of balance attained.

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