Friday, April 1, 2011

Redbud Tree - pastel, 11x14

Here's the bigger version of the ACEO:

Redbud Tree Along the Road
11x14 inches
pastel on 140# w/c paper with Golden pumice ground

I started this later in the afternoon, and worked on it for a few hours.  If nothing else, it was a good exercise in blocking in shapes and drawing trees.  The background?  Completely made up, evolving as things went along.  The original reference had a house and some other building maybe 50 ft. behind the tree, which wasn't at all what the painting is about, so they had to go. 

Simplifying it into a large meadow seems to work to keep the detail on the tree, and even more - its shadow.  I'm fascinated by the shadows cast by trees - they are always intriguing abstract shapes that are fun to look at and always a challenge to paint.   The road just got extended from a totally uninteresting driveway to something that perhaps leads to...the beach?  You, the viewer, get to decide where you go from here.  

I used warm, saturated vs. cool, grayed greens to manipulate the sense of distance here - one of the beauties of working in pastel is the scumbling and layering one can employ to obtain such effects.

Tomorrow, the road traveled will be a radical departure from this:  we are heading out early morning on an overnight trip in Bluff, UT.  Destination:  Butler Wash and Cedar Mesa - to spend 2 solid days hiking the area and see a tiny sampling of the hundreds of Anasazi cliff dwellings and rock art panels in the region.  One could literally spend a lifetime exploring the area, which is remote and literally off the beaten path.  This is a special trip, and I'm hauling my tripod along, which I normally don't do.  

Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to posting on Sunday.  Everyone enjoy your weekend!

Last night's sunset; photos taken approximately 3 min. apart:


  1. Glorious redbud tree and sunset!

  2. Love the shadows of that tree!
    Beautiful sunset, too.

  3. You did a really fine job on the color composition, here.

    I hope you have perfect weather for your hike.

  4. I'm playing catch-up, been in a bit of a funk. These small studies you've been doing are very dynamic in contrast and color. They're great on their own, but I see lots of possibilities for more larger versions.

  5. Back from our trip; replies before I get lost in the 300+ photo download...

    Thanks much, Helen!

    Hi Debbie - welcome, and thanks so much for stopping in and commenting. Glad you like the shadow; it was the key to the success of the painting, I think.

    Thanks, Casey. These bright greens and pinks are so far out of my normal "comfort zone", if you will, that I wasn't even sure if they worked.

    Dan - thanks, I appreciate your thoughts. I love how those colors look on the black paper; the contrast is much greater than on this w/c paper. I know for sure I'm going to do the barn/cherry tree on a larger size, and perhaps the others. Your new pieces of spring and blooming trees both inspire and intimidate me, you know ;). The funk...yeah, it comes to us all. I now accept it as a part of the process, just plow through it, and eventually beat it back.


Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...