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.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

A rotation of tree studies

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

I have been doing ten 8x10 studies of various subjects for the Daily Paintworks web site. I'm in the middle of a 10 day study of trees. I could paint trees for a hundred years and still be completely intrigued by them.  These studies keep me in study mode, which is the best place to be for a painter in my opinion. There are too many advanced painters who stop studying painting when they become established. I will always be a student of painting and these tree studies help me to advance my skill level. 
Live Oak 3 Study
8x10 inches
Acrylic on canvas panel

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A simple Palette

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal
Lately, I've been fooling around with a more subtle, less saturated palette for painting. I used it for this painting, using a bit of gray in the greens and blues for scenes.  In the last year or two I have been painting trees in this field a lot. The trees are nicely spaced and shaped in interesting ways rather than the classic central trunks I often see. The clouds have been spectacular too in the last month or two.
In this painting, I used Ivory black and lemon yellow for the green in the largest tree, with more of a black bias in the green and the moss. There was a bit of cad orange in the moss gray as well. As the scene recedes, I began to use blue in the greens mixtures biasing the mix to further blue as the trees went back, until the back row has almost no yellow in it. it was my 5 color palette and easy to achieve harmony and balance in the color for the painting.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Painting Pine Trees

Notes From my Tree Painting Journal

Since March of this year, I have been painting pine trees frequently. I had the opportunity to paint them live for a week at Wekiva State Park and have been attached to the subject ever since. I've been using some interesting greens for pines, since that week and getting pretty good results. You can see the variety in this new painting of the east hay field at Fair Oaks in Evinston, FL. It is a fine scene indeed to paint. 

I've been using a more controlled approach to my palette this year, with a more subdued gray green as you see in the pasture and an accent of intensity as you see in the front tree. The sky is a warm gray rather than blue. I'm in the early stages of this approach so I expect it will get easier as I grow with it. I had gotten very dependent on using cadmiums for green and too much saturation. I am slowly trying to find a better and more nuanced approach rather than just slapping on bright green. I am liking gray more and more.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Trees Painting Study

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal
This is a painting study, 8x10 inches. I don't know why this image is so bad. The canvas texture is showing through the painting. This is a portal between trees at Fair Oaks. I've been playing around with mixing greens and studying with some neutrals. I toned the canvas with Ivory black first and then used UB with Ivory as the block in for my darks in the painting. I added mixtures of cad orange, lemon yellow, yellow medium and ochre for the various greens in the canopy and field. I put the brightest color in the field beyond the trees. Lots of fun using a limited palette and neutrals.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A new Tree For Me

A New Tree For Me
Notes From My Tree Painting Journal
My heritage and champion tree project has begun to morph into a project of painting trees that I personally think are special. I have never painted a Flame Tree, also known as the Royal Poinciana Tree. They don't grow this far north in Florida but are quite common in south Florida. I wanted to paint one because they are so spectacular, I  really enjoyed painting this one with the South Florida palms with the long fronds. The painting is more subtle than this image shows. I wanted to keep much of it neutral to show off the tree without competing with it.  I am beginning to study neutrals in palette adjacent to powerful intensity. I see so many of the paintings of this tree where everything in the painting is bright.
This one was very fun!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Finished 40x60 Trees Painting

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal
I finished this 40x60 tree painting on Monday. It is drying for a couple of days and will go to my retail studio to be installed on Saturday. There is a glare on the canvas on the top left side, so the sky and clouds look a bit off in color in the image. I had a great time with this painting. I love to work in a large format.
I am studying Royal Poinciana Trees a bit, as I want to do a 20x24 oil on one. I'm in the research stage, doing small acrylic studies right now.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Large Trees Painting in Stages

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5
I'm working on a large trees painting in stages this month. It is 40x60 inches on deep gallery wrap canvas. I will continue the painting around the edges for a clean finish without framing. it replaces another trees painting, exactly the same size, that sold two weeks ago.  I love working on the big paintings. They really make a statement to viewers who come in the studio. I'll show the rest of the stages when it is finished. I'll be done this week.
titanium white
ivory black
ultramarine blue
turquoise blue
yellow ochre
cad yellow medium
cad yellow lemon
cad red light

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A big painting

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

The above paintings are possible compositions for my next 40x60 inch Live Oak Painting. I sold the 40x60 painting I had in the town studio on Thursday. I have ordered a new canvas which will arrive in about 2 weeks, so I am busy doing various composings  for the next big painting. 

I'll do some miniatures as well to help me decide on palette as well. It is always exciting for me to do a large format tree painting. I can only do them as one sells. It is very hard for me to store large paintings and expensive to do. I'm excited!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Field Three Live Oak Tree

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal
I recently got back from a painting residency in Crystal River, where I spent 6 days out looking at and painting studies of the marshes. The thing that I wanted to study the most was the atmospheric quality and depth of these large flat vistas. I also put in quite a bit of time studying unusual color in the cloud formations over the marshes. Late in the day I saw quite a few yellow and orange creamsicle color in the billowing cloud formations as they began to heat up and grow spectacularly.
Now that I am back in the painting studio, I'm using some of that observation in my tree paintings as well.  Here is a marsh painting done in studio since I returned home.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lots of tree studies

Live Oak Study
8x10 inches
Acrylic on panel

I have been doing a lot of tree studies over the last month, getting my acrylic skills back and having a lot of fun with the process of painting. Sometimes doing multiple studies allows me to just free up and not worry about good or bad. I am switching between oils and acrylics regularly, to keep both skill sets up to par. 

I'm in Crystal River this week, using oils to paint the wild red cedars and cabbage palms. Great practice!

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Study

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal
I've never painted the South Florida trees like the Royal Ponciannas, so this is my laughable first attempt. I won't give up. Eventually I will figure out the shape and correct colors. I'll probably have to do a bunch of them to get it right. Trees are hard. I am a north Florida painter. We don't really have tropical trees or plants here so they are a mystery to me. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014



Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

This is the year of pines for me in my tree journey. It happens like that for me. I'll end up focusing on a species of trees and become fixated on studying them for some time. I got really interested in the pines in the Wekiva State Park back in March and have been keen on them since. I'm not really sure why pine trees are less popular as a subject than live oak trees or bald cypress. I find them to be thrilling as subjects. Once a forest ranger and research biologist wrote to me and asked why other painters don't paint pines and I had no answer for her. I love them!

Oil on canvas

3.5x2.5 inch studies

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nice to be recognized

I was delighted to receive a two page spread in an area style magazine this month. My advanced copies were delivered to my studio today. A wonderful thing for a tree painter!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bald Cypress is done

Co National Champion Bald Cypress
18x24 inches
Oil on canvas

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

I finished this champion tree painting today in my town studio. It was a lot of fun and a challenge. This is the third in my series for the year, so I'm not making huge progress in numbers, but I certainly am enjoying the project. I plan to put together an exhibition in 2015 for the champion paintings, with a journal with my notes. It might make a nice book as well. I do tend to forget about the promotional aspect of these projects after I complete them because by then I have new projects to do. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A painting in the champion tree series

Work in progress
Champion trees

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

This is the co-national champion bald cypress tree from Mississippi. It is quite a challenge. This is session two. I have about two sessions to go. These champions are amazing! I'll show you the finished painting. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Pine Painting

Tree Art

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

This painting was inspired by the 13 paintings I did on location at Wekiva State Park a few weeks ago. I learned a lot during that trip and process. I wanted to do a larger studio painting while I had the painting experience fresh in my mind. I spent a couple of weeks working on this 18x24 studio version, finishing it up just this afternoon. 

From all of these paintings, I learned to paint pines without too much detail and precision. A lot of the pine paintings I have seen are a bit overdone which makes them almost cartoonish and quite illustrative. Of course, it is a matter of preference for painters and some like the tight detail. I don't like slap dash sloppy tree paintings, but I do like to leave the viewer with the fresh quality of paint, not too refined. 

The most important elements I learned were color mixing for pine trees and the quality of masses of pine trees together in stands, as well as the design elements associated with pines in a field. Quite valuable knowledge to add to my tree painting knowledge. 

Oh trees! How lovely they are and how difficult to paint well for me!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A new Tree Painting

16x20 inches
Oil on canvas

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

This is the first painting I did at my new studio space. I enjoyed it. I used the same palette that I practiced with in the pine forest at Wekiva State Park. I am finding that I really like the simplicity of the  greens mixed with the palette. 

I'll soon be painting the brilliant colors of Spring. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Painting Pine Trees

 Notes From My Tree Journal

I spent Sunday-Thursday this week painting in the pine woods at Wekiva State Park. I am here for the annual paint out, sponsored by Wekiva Island, bless their good hearts. This is a wonderful opportunity to study the design of pine trees. I did not try to do realist interpretation of the trees, instead focusing on their elemental design, so these are interpretive. Anytime I can focus on trees for 5 days uninterrupted, I am pleased. I did 13 pine paintings in sizes, 5x7,6x8,9x12,12x12,12x16. I worked in all weather condition from sun, partly cloudy, overcast, and rain, so it was a great opportunity to alter my palette as well through the five days. A rare time of focus and discovery here at Wekiva.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tree painting from my residency

Trees in Holy Ground Field
20x24 inches
Oil on canvas

Notes From My Tree Residency

This was the last painting I completed at my residency at Fair Oaks in February. I've always been fond of this scene. There is a lot of standing water under these trees from the recent rains. Most of the time it is dry. This stand of trees is a favorite hideaway for the resident deer. I see them early in the morning and late in the afternoon before dusk when they like to feed. 

I started this painting on location and finished it in the upstairs studio on the last day of my residency. Though I paint at Fair Oaks almost every Sunday, it is quite special to spend a whole week there every February. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Angel Oak Tree South Carolina Champion Tree


Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

This painting is of the Champion Tree of South Carolina, the Angel Oak Tree. It was a real challenge and joy to paint this tree. The palette was expanded to accommodate such a complex tree. I used the following palette with many layers of color and drying periods between. 

Ivory Black 
Titanium white
 Naples Yellow
Yellow ochre
Lemon yellow
Sap green
Thalo blue
Red iron oxide
Raw umber
Cadmium orange
Cadmium red

I rarely use such a large palette. These Champion and heritage trees are difficult and they are expanding my skills. Always a good thing.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Struggle to Paint Trees Successfully

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal
I finally finished this oil painting this morning. It was extremely difficult for me and for awhile, I thought it would never work. I did many changes on it over the course of 3 weeks. I did enjoy it, but it was also extremely difficult and challenging and who knows why? now and then that happens to me. I think I have a good plan, a good scene to work with and it just doesn't want to work.
As a young painter, I would have abandoned it and started something else. As a mature painter, I want to struggle a bit and find solutions that are part of the learning process. As I have grown as a tree painter, I have learned the value of study more than end result.  Trees are living beings, complex and mysterious. One must love the arcane to study and paint trees.
Today I start on my next Champion Trees Project painting of the Angel Oak in South Carolina. This one will be tough too, very complex and wonderful. I expect it to kick me around some before I can finish it. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Amazing Nature

Ice Trees

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

I took this photo this morning before I started my truck, Leroy. It is an amazing tree painting by nature in ice. What a lovely gift to me. Nature knows I am a tree painter. 

This week I am working on an 18x24 oil painting of trees. I am having a hard time with the painting, trying to work out issues with the trunks. Some foreshortening and textural issues to overcome. If trees were easy to paint, everyone would paint them!

I keep plugging along, learning what I can about painting them. I need to get started on another champion tree. I am doing a small commission too, so my champion trees are waiting patiently in the wings. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Testing New Panels

Citrus Tree
oil on gatorboard panel
Notes From My Tree Painting Journal
A few months ago one of my sponsors, French Canvas, sent me some nice panels made of a gatorboard substrate, covered with canvas. They are light weight and quite sturdy with a very good painting surface. I quite like them. They are ideal for plein air work because they are light and easily carried in bulk. It took me awhile to get the time to test them and I'm glad I did. I will be getting some more soon and I hope he will offer them in linen too. This supplier makes an excellent stretched canvas as well. I use this company for all of my commissioned paintings because I know I can rely on Rob for all of my canvas needs. He often makes custom sizes for me with various canvas weights and depths as well. I have done two paintings on the gatorboards so far and the canvas worked beautifully. I'll show you the other painting soon. The size he sent for me to test was 12x12.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Old Friends

12x16 inches
Oil on panel

Notes From My Tree Painting Journal

This pair stands side by side at Fair Oaks in Evinston Florida. I can just imagine the many conversations, trials and pleasures they have endured together. I think they are probably pretty old as well, though not as large as some of the Live Oak trees I know.  I happened upon them driving the blue golf cart down one of the trails a week ago. They looked so peaceful together that I immediately wanted to paint them. When I got to my residency home on Monday, the weather was terrible, so I set my paintbox up in the kitchen and happily painted these new friends from my IPad photo. What a joy to paint them!

I used a limited palette of:

Cadmium yellow medium
Cadmium red light
Cadmium orange
Thalo blue red shade
Yellow ochre
Titanium white
Ivory black

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Champion Cottonwood Tree

Texas Cottonwood Champion
20x24 inches
Oil on canvas

I had a wonderful time painting this first in my series of champion and heritage trees of the south. I would love to have reference photos of heritage trees from around the south if anyone would like to share them with me.  Please send them to me at linda@lindablondheim.com Please include any history and location of the tree.