Monday, January 24, 2011
See The Tree, How Big It's Grown
What do you do when you want to paint an outdoor scene from life, but the temperature outside is only five degrees above zero, with a wind-chill temperature near twenty below? Well, I guess you could don multi layers of clothing so you resemble a heftier version of the Michelin Man, put on boots that weigh twenty pounds and arctic gloves that are even too big to fit in the overhead compartment on planes, and set out to show Mother Nature who's boss. Or, if you're like me, you fire up the parlor wood stove, grab your french easel and a cup of coffee and head on over to a window to look outside. I may be a wimp, but I'm a warm wimp!
I set my easel up in my living room by the picture window that looks out on the large tree that dominates my back yard. I love that tree. It's a huge maple with a six foot diameter and it looms over my garage and house with branches that block out the sky. I thought the thing was ancient when we first moved here last year, but come to find out it was planted around 1950 or so. I'm sure that when it was planted it was just a twig...
Like the painting I recently did of my bedroom dressers, this one is from observation with no photographic reference. I mean, the thing just sits there, it's not like it's a horse grazing in a field. I am cognizant of the light though. The time frame I'm depicting is between 2:30 and 3:30 in the afternoon. After I finished quickly roughing it in, I've been working on it one section at a time, and only at that time in the afternoon. This is the fifth afternoon I've been at it. I've miles to go on this, one hour at a time, but the photo above should give you an idea of what I'm shooting for. I hope to be able to post the finished job next week. Good thing I started this in January. Not only is the tree not going anywhere, but at five degrees, the snow's in no hurry to leave either. And that tree is way too big to brush all the snow away.