This is entirely from my imagination. Here’s my sketch
I wanted to keep this light. Kind of like the paper but I hadn’t planned my color scheme before I started painting.
At this point I like it, but it was not finished. That was more obvious in person than from the photo. I do need to step away from my work more and earlier. That’s a challenge in a studio as small as mine…
This version was too much the same tone. I worked it a lot from here. Scraped off the tree.. Did a bunch. It didn’t improve it much considering all the work I put in.
I learned a ton from this piece even though it didn’t come together that easily for me. I really should have done a color study after the sketch and had a better handle on my intended palette. I gained somethings and lost some as I finished it.
Maybe if I do the color studies to bridge between the sketch and the final piece, I’ll be able to keep it looser and it will actually be finished. I’m excited to try a new workflow process. I definitely need to be doing more before jumping into the painting. And I think I have some ideas.
Next I’ll be working on a cooperative piece relating to animal rights with another artist I know. I’m excited to try my new workflow on the joint piece to see how it goes. Good habits go a long way! Now to clean my brushes…
I’ve decided to explore trees in my paintings. I am excited about the idea of portraits of trees.
Trees are important to me. They are important to us all, really. But as a biology teacher, I did a School Woodland Ecosystem Study Project Fellowship with the Cary Institute. That project permanently changed the way I view my trees. I already knew a lot about trees and their interactions with the environment, but I learned much more about different species of trees and their specific contributions to an ecosystem. I have even gotten fairly good at identifying trees without leaves from their bark alone. It’s no surprise really that this would find a way into my art.
Trees are like people in that they reflect their environment. That are molded by it like we are. They survive hardships like we do. That portrait of a tree appeals to me for this reason.
This is the drawing I did in preparation
After I got the canvas covered, I made some major composition changes. Here it is before the changes.
I wanted more sky and a sweeping feeling. Plus, I changed the left tree to be the same type as the right one rather than a pine tree. I liked how the purply reds were playing with the yellow-greens of the foreground. I also moved the left tree forward to increase the tension and depth of the composition. It needs to dry before I can finish it, but I am pleased with the start.
In one hour… This is actually my first plein air painting. One hour was the time limit. There is a lot of prep for this. We’re still figuring out the logistics of how to do this, but it was fun! The results are a little rough. Need to work on that too I guess.
Here it is after another 2 hours at home. I started by oiling it out and then began refining things. The trees are still stylized, as is the field, but the brush strokes are less coarse and the color is more accurate to the day and the experience in the field. We really did have a nice time. This is an excellent way to remember it. If I were to do it again, I’d change the composition to include more sky. It could use less foreground.
As this piece is drying, I can see that it is a high quality piece. I am happy with it.
Thought I’d try a landscape…