Tuesday, May 05, 2009

"Orchard -- Early May" -- field study -- 9x12" -- oil on gessoed paper -- Margie Guyot

It's still too early for the blossoms to open on the fruit trees here in NW Michigan. I found this orchard on Maple Hill Road and loved this scene. Something very ordered, very geometric about it. The growers up here are very fastidious with their trees. They plant them in carefully laid-out grids and usually keep the ground beneath the trees free of weeds. The belief is that the weeds rob the tree roots of nutrients.

Even though no blossoms were open yet, it was such a beautiful, warm sunny day, I had to get out and paint. Loved the bright green of the grass. If you look along the upper portion of the painting, you'll see a pale greenish-gray. That is from the thousands of small branches, covered in pale green leaves that are just peeking out. The sun was striking the branches, which have a bit of a sheen to them.

I also love how thick and gnarly old apple trees can get! Each spring the trees are carefully pruned to allow for sunlight penetration into the tree. I've heard pruning should make it easy enough for a bird to fly right through the tree. Sometimes these years of pruning end up creating some unusual-looking trees!

Several beehives were about 50 feet away. With no blossoms open yet, the bees were frantically racing about, looking for something to eat. Several came close to me, buzzing around, but I knew not to be afraid. When they realized I was not a flower, they flew off.

Stay tuned for more orchards!

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