Since fall will be here before I know it (hopefully? please? I was still sweating yesterday when I went out to paint) I’ve been taking notice of the trees. They haven’t turned golden and beautiful yet – here in Texas they like to go a few leaves at a time. But still, a smattering of orange leaves in a tree makes it a nice shade of olive that I think is worth painting. And in Texas, who know, that might be the best I get before someone flips a switch and its winter.
My mantra for the past few paintings has been use more paint, and with that carve out your negative space. I think with trees especially using the negative space around to “carve” the branches and leaf blocks into shape makes for a more satisfying, painterly quality in the end. And what I mean by that is, I painted in the darks of the tree branches and the general green shapes of the leaves pretty loosely, but then used the white and blue of the sky to punch out the negative space between the branches and to cut out the silhouette of the tree as a whole. My old method, comparatively, involved painting the tree over the sky, which always seemed to result in a bulky tree with very uniform brush strokes. By using more paint and manipulating it differently, I think my trees have become not only more accurate, but also more visually interesting. I’m looking forward to experimenting with this more as fall advances.