Saturday, November 30, 2013

Live Oak in Progress

Live Oak Tree 
Work in Progress
30x40 inches
Oil on Canvas

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

I've not had as much time to paint this month. Lots of activities, but I do get at least an hour a day. I started this painting in the painting studio about a week ago. I moved it to my loft studio, where I'm beginning to make some progress on it. The dry prairie behind the tree is sometimes a pond. It gets quite large in wet years with beautiful lotus and lily pads. I really love it the most as a dry prairie. The grasses are really beautiful. Winter is my favorite season to paint. Long about the time that most of the leaves have fallen, and just a few bright spots of gold, yellow and orange remain, I love that look to the land. 

I recently did a large commission of one of the trees of this pond. I wanted to paint the same location as it looks now in early winter. I guess if I keep painting it enough, I'll get it right eventually.

My palette for this painting:

Cad Red Light
 Red Iron Oxide
Raw Umber
Ivory Black
Titanium White
Windsor Blue
Ultramarine Blue
Cad Yellow Medium
Yellow Ochre

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fish Prairie Trees

Fish Prairie Trees
40x48 inches
oil on canvas
Notes From My Tree Painting Journal
Each year in the fall or winter, I do a large painting of Fish Prairie. It is my favorite Florida prairie, quite small by other prairie standards, and not accessible to the public. It is rimmed by privately owned farms. Lucky me, it is rimmed by Fair Oaks in Evinston, where I am artist in residence. The staff at Fair Oaks kindly mows paths back on the prairie for me to paint. I can travel around the prairie in my favorite blue golf cart. Three weeks ago the yellow flowers were in full bloom on the prairie, providing a carnival of color along with the lovely tall, wheat and rust colored grasses. The Bald Cypress have dropped a lot of their leaves now. It was not the best year for tree color.
Naturally, I took artistic license with the scene, moving trees around and fitting in the grasses and flowers where I wanted to place them. I liked the idea of some of the trees coming forward stretching out of the picture plane and the play with strong value asymmetry of the tree colors, putting them in light and dark camps across the scene. As always, I love doing the big tree paintings!

Friday, November 15, 2013

More Tree Painting

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

I been busy painting trees in November. I started with a giant Live Oak Tree commission in October, finishing it up just in time to start the above painting about ten days ago. I've been able to get out to Fish Prairie for about two weeks now to see it transition from summer to fall. It is a glorious place for me and I spend many happy hours there in fall and winter. Spring and summer are hazardous due to snakes and swarms of Mosquitos. 

Two weeks ago the yellow wildflowers were in profusion on the prairie. I do a large painting of this prairie once a year as a joyful mission. This year I chose fall instead of winter, as I wanted to include the wildflowers and rich color before everything turns either gray or green for winter. 

This is a sapling prairie, not flat and vast like others in this area. It is small and full of small cypress, Hickory and Bay trees, as well as cabbage palms and a number of Palmettoes, so there is no shortage of interesting small trees. The owner of Fair Oaks has thoughtfully carved paths through the prairie so I can navigate pretty easily through the prairie in a golf cart. 

This is kind of a wonderful secret place for me. Whenever I want to have a quiet place to explore and watch the birds or paint, I go to Fish Prairie. It is rimmed by privately owned farms so there are no tourists roaming around. I love it so much!