I used to be afraid to paint trees. A lot of people say the human figure is the most difficult thing to paint. For me it was trees. All through high school and college I happily painted people or still lifes. In my first landscape painting in high school, the trees looked like they were made of Legos. Blocky and unnatural.
When I started painting again around 2015, I wanted to paint landscapes. I also wanted to be a better painter, so I had to try trees again. On the left here is the beginning of a very bad painting of trees. It didn’t get better, and I painted over it. And the right: These trees look like monsters reaching up to their monster cloud cousins.
Yuk. But watch them get better.
I seek out a good tree now. I looove their gnarly branches, their silhouettes, their shadows, and now—probably because I’m middle-aged—I like their histories. The older the better.
This leads into my fascination with the yew tree in the middle of the lawn at Brodie Castle. That pretty, old castle is special, but then think about that tree—it’s older AND you can go inside of it, too. The little bench under the branches of the yew is a poignant touch. It not only shows the scale of the tree, but also a relationship between man and nature. That's a nice thought to think on Arbor Day.
The path around the small pond on the grounds at Brodie is the most peaceful place I landed on. It's covered in a thick canopy of trees that keeps it very quiet. Across a teeny footbridge over a rivulet is this little clearing, like boat launch for kids. Or fairies. The sunlight poked through and lit up a patch of path just long enough for me to notice.
Scotland was totally showing off when we were at Califer Hill on our first day. Gena and Tray drove us up here after dinner to help stave off jet lag, and I was like, "Ugh, I just want to go to bed." And my husband was like, "Don't be lame." And Scotland was like, "Ta-da!"
I Heart Art
I do! I make it, sell it, think about it, look at it, read about it, and (sometimes) I write about it. Join my mailing list, and you'll receive my brief--promise--messages about new work, shows, events, and a little inspiration. Probably a picture of my dog, too.