Friday, December 14, 2012

Masses of Trees

Work in Progress
36x48 inches

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

This is session four on my painting of Fish Prairie. This one is in acrylics and going much faster than the 40x60 I just finished in oils. The acrylics are so versatile and allow me to go back and forth with these close value relationships, making constant adjustments. I love painting on the prairie this time of year with the multiple neutrals and the hint of color throughout from the Hickories and Swamp Maples whose leaves are still hanging on. I always love that surprise of the late turning trees when everything else is bare. It is my absolute favorite time of year to paint. 

Sorting through the jungle of tree masses is challenging and wonderful. Composition and design is so important for this kind of painting. Allowing some trees to begin to emerge as dominant elements seems to be the best way for me to sort it all out. 


This is a 12x16 inch painting I did last Sunday while out on the prairie. I like to spend some time painting on location before I use my reference photos to do an in studio large format painting. It helps me to get a feel for the mood and palette of the place I want to paint.


This is a palm hammock on Fish Prairie painted from a field study. It was a dark day in early summer so you can see that the undergrowth is much more lush than the winter views. I've been lucky to have access to this prairie from Fair Oaks which runs along the rim. The kind owner has mowed several trails through the prairie for access. I spend much of my winter painting time there as it allows me  challenges to my composing skill and helps me to grow as a painter.

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