Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trees are a challenge ..............

'Pepper Tree and Corn Fields' 8x10 in. oil on panel

'Morning Light - San Miguel Viejo' 9x12 in. oil on panel

Yep, - no doubt about it, trees are a handful to paint! They're interesting. They have character and are a great compositional device. I've always been strongly attracted to them and they have some great varieties down here in Mexico. However, it's one thing to draw a tree or two and it's quite another to paint them convincingly into their surroundings. You don't want to fuss and overwork but you want them to be true to their species and exude lots of tree essence. You want them to be 'airy' ... maybe even move a little in the breeze. The two examples above were done at San Miguel Viejo this week. Donna's plein air group were mostly turned the other direction and did some pretty impressive work on the old church. I figured it was about time I gave that subject a rest, having done it about 5 times now. So I tackled the trees, corn .............and... rock pile ........
The lightly experienced lady beside me (Gail) also took on this challenge and seemed to think I really knew what I was doing the whole time. Well, the truth is we're all learning. I think my results were encouraging but I plan to concentrate my efforts on these tricky lifeforms for a spell.
Also, I've dropped a purely dry brush approach as it seemed to kill spontaneity a bit but I'm leaning on it more as just another technique to exploit when it's appropriate.


  1. Hi Tom
    The structure of your trees is beautiful and the light so convincing!

  2. Thank you Steven. Your encouragement is very well received. Still, I think I'd better get out there and do another couple hundred before I get too comfortable about it.