trees

I just sent off a submission for Willow Studio’s annual “Branching Out” exhibition…all about trees.  There are trees all over my Park series, so, thinks I, this should be pretty easy to put together.    New work needed, given that pretty much everything I’ve painted in the last year is out on exhibit this month, but no problem, right?

Wrong.

Thinking specifically about trees changed the focus,  from “me in the great outdoors” to, well, just “the great outdoors”…and, yikes, I couldn’t do it.   Weeks of false starts and frustration went by.  I looked and looked at the many and varied trees I pass everyday, and though there should have been a ton of material to paint from, nothing worked.

Then I figured it out.   On a very crisp late autumn morning — one of the last cycling days before winter — I rode underneath a venerable old black poplar right on the edge of the Elbow River (I do have a lovely commute, lucky me) and, as I had been doing pretty much every day, looked up into its branches.  Before I was blinded by the piercing fall sun I was struck by the familiarity of the pattern of the tree against the blue blue blue sky.    And there it was.  I knew this tree.  It was my friend.    Just like that,  I’d made a connection.  And now I could paint it, because I was back to where I love to be, making paintings about, yep, being human in the natural world.

So I went to the studio, mused a bit in my journal, and made a painting.  Easy.

Frances Vettergreen, sky fragments, 2010; oil and wax on canvas, 16 x 16 inches

9 thoughts on “trees

    1. Frances Post author

      Thanks for the kind words, and for assuming I’ll be in the show! I feel like I’m tempting fate even mentioning it….

      Reply
  1. Kim Bruce

    I’m glad that worked out for you Frances. All to often when given specific guidelines or topics to create art for…well it just messes with your natural flow.

    Reply
    1. Frances Post author

      Well, we’ll see how well it worked when the competition is over! But I agree about the flow; I don’t often submit to themed exhibitions for that very reason.

      Reply
  2. Marina Vettergreen

    I love the painting. The tree reminds me of the old maple which was in our yard , sheltering a sand box, in which many children played . It allowed kids to climb in it , make parachutes with its seeds and hide out under its leafy boughs when it rained. I wonder if it stimulated a love of nature in the children it protected?

    Reply
      1. Frances Post author

        That maple was a good friend. But it’s possible that growing up surrounded by trees (I counted once — there were over 30 trees in the back yard alone. Ok, some might have been seedlings, but still) might have done the trick anyway.

        Reply

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