The Maddening Trees

pleinair_poplar_nov15So there’s this stand of trees in the field where I paint that are some of the tallest, prettiest trees I’ve been able to find in my little corner of suburban Texas. I don’t what kind they are, but they’ve got lovely white trunks and these big, round leaves that make clapping noises in the wind. Anyway, I love them. But numerous attempts to paint them have shown them to be elusive models. They’re not very full trees, so it’s hard to catch the form of them in paint – and their leaves are so big and individual, broad brush strokes just don’t catch the feel of them. So you have to try and wrestle thin branches, big leaves, a mess of lights and midtones and shadows all in the same place while still keeping the overall anatomy of the tree in proper order. It’s a tough puzzle to put together. This painting is the closest I’ve come to capturing one of them. It’s still not quite there. It doesn’t capture the airy quality in the leaves, or the dappling effect they make when the sun is on them. But it catches the spirit, and that will have to be enough for now.

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