Monday, December 31, 2012

Winter Trees

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

This one is 18x24 inches, oil on canvas. I had two goals for this painting. The first to study tree masses and second to use a variety of greens. When you paint in Florida you must practice greens constantly. Winter and summer, they are there. Sorting though masses of trees is always a challenge. I created a more interesting tree line between the masses by using subtle interval changes along the grass line. The real line of grasses were straight along in a row. I am always looking for opportunities to make the composition a little more interesting.

I was able to mix quite a few greens by using a base of Daniel Greene sap green oil, mixing into that the following in various proportions:

yellow ochre
ultramarine blue
naples yellow
cad lemon
cad yellow medium
titanium white

For the limbs I used the same magenta pink as the grasses, with sap green and ultramarine blue in various proportions. For the sky I used magenta with white and a bit of Ivory Black to make a pale warm gray. I used a palette knife for the sky.  The second day I came back over the lower part of the sky with trans red iron oxide and white for the subtle hint of clouds, again with palette knife.

 This is a painting of Field Three at Fair Oaks These rust and pink grasses are lovely in winter. Sometimes they are grayer, bluer or more purple but always beautiful. 

Good fun in the studio with my favorite subject.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Trunk and Limbs

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

Today I finished the above tree trunk painting. It was painted from a reference photo of a tree near Brooker Florida and it is a Laurel Oak. I happened to spy it while checking a phone message outside of my truck. 

I am really enjoying this palette. I used it for the last painting too of a Live Oak last week.It is quite versatile and gives me a full range of neutrals and allows me to pump up the color if I wish with Cad Yellow Lemon as an accent. 

Good tree trunks and limbs can be quite difficult to paint because there is so much texture and foreshortening to do them properly. They are rarely symmetrical. My goal in 2013 is to intensify my tree painting study and be very serious about it. I am working out the various palettes I will be using to transition to the various seasons.

There is a new book out and I don't remember the author but he is an attorney and tree historian. The title of the book is The American Canopy, so I will be looking into that for my Kindle soon.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Live Oak Tree #16

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

I don't usually do my larger format paintings in one day, but this one just hummed along. It basically had its own mind and led me around the canvas. I sure enjoyed doing a painting without a huge struggle to correct and fix. I enjoyed doing the long drapey limbs and I really like the palette for this painting:

Ultramarine Blue
Yellow Ochre
Cad yellow medium
Cad yellow lemon
Raw umber
Trans red iron oxide
Titanium white.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fish Prairie Trees
36x48 inches
acrylic on deep gallery wrap canvas.

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

I'm about through with this beast. I have to paint the sides of the deep canvas and perhaps a tweak here and there when I see it on Wednesday again. I sure have enjoyed painting this one. I got to practice painting foreshortened limbs, always important, close intervals, and lots of close values. I hope I fixed all of the pesky tangents.  Great fun!! Now I have to find help to hang a 40x60 and this one in the loft studio next week.That will be an adventure for sure.

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.

Monday, December 3, 2012

North Florida Trees

Notes From my Tree Painting Journal

I finally finished my huge tree painting today. There is a glare on the left side of the painting. It is so big that I am unable to get a really good photo. I will take it outside when it dries to the touch and try photographing it again. I really enjoyed doing this one but I find that having enough patience with large format oil paintings is an issue for me. I have become much more proficient with acrylics and so there is the waiting time with oils between sessions.I'm sure I could improve it with time, but I feel it has taught me what it is going to and it's time to move on to the next tree painting.

I have another large canvas, not quite so large but still big. I want to do a painting of the winter trees on Fish Prairie next. I will use acrylics this time. I already have it in my mind, so as soon as I get another rotation in the painting studio, I'll get it started and then take it to my loft studio to work on for a couple of weeks.

Painting trees is the most fun!!