Notes From My Tree Journal
First I look at the basic shapes and their relationship to each other. I look at height and proportion of the canopy to its trunk. Then I look at the proportion for the largest tree to other trees in the scene. Where are the negative spaces within the tree canopy and within the scene? How do they line up with my first measurements of the painting? Where is the light source? What angle?
Next I begin to lay in the dark masses within the trunks and canopy. I consider the warm and cool temperatures within the tree canopy and trunks and where I want the texture to stand out. I consider the various light sources, whether they are reflected light, direct light or ambiant light in making color temperature decisions. I don't rely solely on local color. As a contemporary painter, my goal is not a realistic copy of what I see. The scene is just a jumping off point for me. The painting takes on a life of its own.
I work all over the painting, never over developing any area too quickly. I like to gradually bring it together. I have found that fixating on one area can be a mistake. Every thing I do in the painting effects something else. I try to keep the focus of the painting clear in my mind before I begin. Some areas must be simple and undeveloped and others precise and clear. Variety in color and texture add interest to my painting. I save the end for highlights and what I call color accents. I will often use a color not in the palette to do this little accent at the end.