Thursday, May 6, 2010

Arc of Sky

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.


Don said...

Hmmm. Looks a bit like a brain.

susan said...

It's always amazed me too how trees have definitive shapes and forms all their own that are most clearly viewed in the leafless months of winter. I love your rendition of the trees painted for Arc of Sky as they surely do seem to be embracing life and the dance of the cosmos in the span of their branches. There's a Mandelbrot element to trees in general wherein the whole of the slow being we know as trees by their individual names reflect their essence as they shift from trunk and major branches all the way to the smallest twigs. Even the veins of their leaves in mimic the tree they garland. These are an elegant and beautiful pair whose stained glass design is perfectly appropriate for the effect you wanted to represent.

As ever I'm delighted by seeing your paintings and reading about your inspiration.

linda said...

what i feel here, when i ponder this lovely painting, is a soul deep in quiet meditation, his hand, as it moves back and forth from the palette to the page, the only movement, in the arc of light that forms over the space he is working...peace.

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Odd Chick said...

ì can't believe that you took that boring (sorry) photo and made it in to that fabulous painting. those trees remind me of how we branch out into a thousand little thoughts and the creative process just keeps getting more interesting. this one really speaks to me.