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Posts tagged ‘trees’

Shelly’s Trees

Shelly is a good friend who just happens to like photography and takes some very good pictures. A recent picture, Shelly’s Trees, provided the inspiration for two quick sketches, one on paper and one on canvasboard. Both small.

Sunset Tree 5×8.5 Acrylic on paper

Sunset Tree, shows the three trees silhouetted against the sunset, with the sky showing through and some branches lit by the setting sun. The actual photograph was taken during the day; no sunset.

Shelly’s Tree 6×6 Acrylic on Canvasboard

Another experiment using the same tree(s). I wanted to get away from everything being so horizontal. But I loved the colorful sky showing through the branches.

Sometime in the future, I may try a much bigger version of Shelly’s Tree.

Evolution of a Painting

My latest painting based on a recent trip to New Zealand went through several iterations before I decided it was finished.  This is my description of how Into the Light went from there to here: the evolution of a painting.

First, I painted the basic shapes of the trees and forest land in very pale colors.  I then added masking fluid where I wanted the light to shine through in the final painting.

Into the Light, Stage 1

Into the Light, Stage 1

Then I added more color to everything.  The tree trunks are starting to look purple (brown is boring).

Into the Light, Stage 2

Into the Light, Stage 2

Again and again I added more color, and then more masking. The next step is to peel off the masking fluid using a “Lift-off Tool (a fancy name for a rubber eraser) to see what is left to do.

Into the Light, Stage 3

Into the Light, Stage 3

The remains of the masking now become a sculpture (using the term creatively).

Masking Fluid "sculpture"

Masking Fluid “sculpture”

Finally, I intensify some colors, in some cases painting into the areas previously covered by the masking.  The process is very similar to what I used to do with watercolor.  In fact, I have thinned the acrylic to the point where it functions like watercolor (although it’s permanent once it dries).

Into the Light

Into the Light        12×16         Acrylic      $850

NOTE: This final image looks very much like the final painting.  The previous images are “browned” because I used my iPhone in the studio at the Art Students League.  In spite of this, I hope you can still get a good sense of how this painting evolved.


New Zealand forest reflected

As we drove around New Zealand, one of the things that amazed me was how much forest land there was, and how varied.  I saw it whiz by as I rode the bus, I saw it up close and personal as I walked through, and I saw the New Zealand forest reflected in the sometimes crystal clear lakes. Some were dense rainforests; others were “prehistoric” with huge ferns everywhere. There was one tree I’ve never seen anywhere else, but every time I asked what it was, I got a different answer.  There was a big bushy tree that bloomed big red flowers in the summer (December/January) that the locals called the Christmas tree.

Here’s another painting of the forest in motion, sunlight seen through the trees, reflected in my memory.

Reflections of NZ

          Reflections of NZ        12×9        Acrylic        $600

New Zealand is an inspiration

Finally finished organizing my many photos from our recent trip to New Zealand.  What a wonderful country!  New Zealand is an inspiration, in many ways.  Artistically: beautiful and sometimes improbable looking trees; so much green, yet also orange and brown and silver in the volcanic areas.  Ecologically: NZ is incredibly varied: rainforests, some of which look positively prehistoric; volcanic areas that look incredibly alien; glaciers advancing and retreating at amazing speeds; the Southern Alps (aptly named); some 2000 earthquakes each year…

And the people are fascinating. NZ is a frontier society and a mecca for people interested in extreme sports (bungee jumping is just the beginning). They are also incredibly caring about protecting their environment, recycling with a vengeance and making sure that their wild areas are preserved. And art is everywhere:  the myriad galleries in Hokitika, the public art everywhere in Christchurch helping to compensate for the pervasive damage done by the 2011 earthquake, the Maori portraits in the Auckland Art Gallery.  Truly impressive.

So as is my wont, I try to preserve my memories by painting.  The photos I take are great reminders, but it is the act of painting that really cements the memory.  In my first two paintings I am trying to capture the trees rushing by as we traveled from here to there, the feeling of motion while standing still.  Different times of day, different kinds of light shining through the trees or reflected in the water.

Memory of New Zealand

Memory of New Zealand    Acrylic    16×12    $850


Memory of NZ 2

Memory of NZ 2      Acrylic      16×12      $850