Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fall in Tree Land

Fall In Tree Land

Here it is almost Christmas, this Fall in tree land has come and gone. I taught a tree workshop in October on a picture perfect weekend. We painted at my country studio in the woods, enjoying the turning trees.

I have been working very hard on my tree paintings this year and feel that I have made some major steps in technique. Given that, I still have far to go. One painting at a time to success. I've painted red cedars, a cherry laurel, pines, and live oaks in the last several months.  I spent most of last summer developing a new winter palette, with which I've had some success.
Farm Oak Tree
18x24 inches
oil on canvas
distressed silver frame

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Trees from Winter to Spring

Jekyll Island Park
18x24 inches
oil on canvas
Notes From My Tree Painting Journal
I've been busily painting trees this year. I traveled to St Simons and Jekyll Islands to explore recently and found some spectacular Cedar and Live Oak trees to paint. Jekyll Island was particularly fruitful with many walking trails full of fine trees.
The Fair oaks trees have been wearing their spring prom dresses in the last few weeks. I can clearly see the transition from winter to spring and now spring to summer. it all happens in about 4 weeks, like a blur.
Winged Victory
Live Oak
8x10 inches
oil on linen

I'll be teaching a couple of workshops in the fall, one in Evinston, FL at Fair Oaks and the other at St Simons Island, The Fair Oaks Tree workshop is almost full. I think there are 3 spaces left. The St Simons workshop has about 10 spaces left. This summer I will work on the workshops, putting the assignments and workbooks together for my students. There is no subject I love more to teach.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Some Tree Work

oil on canvas

Field Three
oil on canvas

Spring Light
En Plein Air
8x10 inches
oil on linen
Notes From My Tree Journal
As you can see here, I have been doing a lot of tree work this year. I have been focused on Live Oaks for a couple of months now. Last year I did a lot of pines. I rotate through the trees I like a lot. I'd like to work on some Sycamore trees this year, as they are so pretty. I have also been painting some cabbage palms again after taking time away from them last year. I think I improve my painting skills by sort of taking breaks from a kind of tree for awhile and then rotating them back into my portfolio again. Trees are very difficult to paint well and there seems to be a lot of painters who treat them generically, as if they are all the same. Serious tree painters know that they have to be painted with thought and care and with knowledge, so study is all important to me. I want to master the art of tree painting someday, so I must continue to work hard.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Woods

The Woods
40x48 inches
Oil on Deep Canvas
Notes From My Tree Painting Journal
I worked on this painting late at night for about 3 weeks. This fall has been so busy that this is the first large painting I have had time to do. I have painted every day but on small studies. it is good to get back to my regular schedule again after months of travel and then the shopping season.
This painting is of the Jackson's Gap area of Paynes prairie. It is a favorite part of the vast prairie here in North Central Florida. The giant Live Oaks rim the prairie edge and they are lovely specimens.  I spent quite a lot of time studying limbs during this process. I wanted to get some reference photos of forshortened limbs on these big trees. This painting was a true pleasure to complete.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Artist in Residence Project - November 9, 2014

Notes From My Residency Journal

Today started sunny and perfect for painting. The citrus groves at Fair Oaks are in fruit and by December it will be time for picking. The steward of the estate had beautiful sturdy fruit crates made, with Fair Oaks imprinted on the ends. He also has cute red baskets with handles for guests to take home full of fruit. The groves are special, beautiful and are wonderful subjects to paint. The tree below is one of my favorites.  I spent the morning in the grove enjoying the process of painting. I could hear the birds, and Shane barking and playing with his ball while I worked.  There  is no place I would rather be than wonderful Fair Oaks. 

After my painting was done,  I decided to clean up my golf cart. It had been well used last weekend during the retreat. I finished my chore and headed out with my walking stick to look at the citrus trees. I found one in the new grove that was quite interesting. It looked like a combination of lemons and limes, with stripes from stem to end. I forgot to ask about them and I am curious about what they might be.

Soon my host arrived with yummy lunch from Blue Highway Cafe in Micanopy. This restaurant has wonderful food. The salad is really good, with pecans, chunks of cheese and excellent blue cheese dressing. We also enjoyed excellent Paninis and huge brownies for dessert. It was really swell.

This was my day to teach at Oak Hammock, so I had to leave with fond memories of another day in paradise.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Invitational Retreat at Fair Oaks

Mary Jane,Kate,Kathie and John look over the great art supplies donated for the artists by Gamblin, French Canvas, and Art Alternatives. 

Mary Jane Volkmann painted down by the pond.

My wonderful assistant, Carolyn.

Notes From the Retreat

A year's worth of planning and saving produced my most successful retreat this weekend. My budget included food and supplies and I just about finished within a few dollars of budget.

We enjoyed three days of companionship as well as good eats and impressive paintings. The weather was crisp and cool on Friday, windy Saturday and chilly on Sunday. All three days worked well with no rain. A beautiful experience for all of us. 

More stories to come.

Monday, October 27, 2014


You will enjoy this story about champion trees in England, shared by my friend Mary Jane.
I've been working on Palms for this study rotation. I do ten painting of each subject in small format. It really improves my technique.