Monday, November 20, 2006

"White Pines at the Horse Camp" -- oil on canvas --16x20" plein air I did this one a couple weeks ago at the horse staging area just east of Kensington Metropark. It was just about the last really nice, warm, sunny day we've had in Michigan. After that day, the weather just seemed to go to hell in a handbasket. Michigan seems to be overcast from November through March. I'd been to this spot the day before, painting with friends. I had painted 2 different scenes of a pair of oak trees and wanted to do one or two more (can you tell I like oaks?). But when I arrived this afternoon, the place was crawling with horses, horse trailers and horse riders. The view of my favorite oaks was blocked. So I bushwacked back into the weeds a bit and saw this clump of white pines. I really loved the contrast of colors and their bold shape. It's always a bit of a challenge to paint tree limbs poking out. Do you first cut in with the light background colors -- or do you begin with the thinner, dark branches? In any event, it's quite a puzzle, involving thinking ahead about where you want placement of things, so you don't gum up everything with thick blobs of light colors -- and then struggle with drying to lay in some darks. It can drive an inexperienced painter mad.