When I think, "What do I want to paint?" the answer is often "trees and sky." I have been trying to capture what I feel about trees, particularly "tree skeletons," as I call them, since I was in junior high. I recall a postage stamp assignment we had (probably in 1974 or 1975). I did mine for the upcoming bi-centennial, with a colonial lantern theme, but the stamp was dominated by a huge tree trunk and branches (a tulip poplar).
My cards, when I make them, all have "Tulip Tree Press" on the back - because I heard, again in junior high, that artists named their presses. I joked that mine was a spoon, since that's what I have used for a printing baren all my life. I use the press label on any card, though, even hand drawn. It started with a book project with limericks done in linoleum block prints, and then to Christmas cards made from linocuts, as well. Even the year at UNC-CH that I made them on a silkscreen, I still used the press symbol. Trees.
Here is the photo that inspired the painting above (ink and watercolor, 19 x 19). I took this several years ago at the waterfowl impoundment north of Durham, near the Butner Seed Nursery. It's a quiet place with some impressive trees, with souls. I have exaggerated what I love about these trees - the arc of sky they seem to hold, the way they form it together, the off center balance of the two. I want to try this again, but capture the reaching more, the weight shift, like a dancer reaching. This painting is more still, like an arched stained glass window - the next would have more movement.
Other paintings/posts about trees: Here, and here, and here, and here and here.