This past Monday, I hung my first exhibit of 2022, “Winter Trees”. It consists of nine paintings of trees that I created from a process I’ve been enjoying lately. You might remember my last exhibit here, Delights of Spring. They were giant compared to these blue paintings. These tree paintings are 6″x6″ with three that are 5″x7″.
Trees happen to show up in my art quite a lot. If you’ve followed along with me for very long, I’m sure you’ve picked up on that. I really didn’t know how much, but as I was looking back at some of my art, I’m a little surprised at how many trees I have painted. No plans of stopping that anytime soon, it makes me happy.
I’ll show a bit of my process for these trees in-between my complaining of trees and squirrels. First, I’ll mention the photo below. That’s a vintage lightbox. It’s a simple tool, albeit clunky compared to ones now days. It’s a way to trace illustrations (or anything) or illuminate slides. It was used in graphic design by my dad when he was stationed at the Pentagon as an artist. This lightbox is older than I am, yikes. And believe it or not, those are the original light bulbs! According to my dad. I drag it out now and then, it comes in handy.
While thinking of what to create for this exhibit, I was inspired by all the naked trees around me right now because it’s winter here in southwestern Indiana. Actually, it’s my favorite time to be a tree voyeur, when the leaves are gone and you can see the real bones of the tree. Painting the skeletons of trees is my favorite way to represent them.
The series or collection (whichever, I use them interchangeably) is titled Winter Trees. It’s 9 paintings of my black walnut trees that we have on our property and they’re growing in numbers, so there’s no chance of being out of inspiration anytime soon. In fact, I pull saplings out of my gardens each spring and summer.
Black walnut trees have big, thick gnarly limbs that stretch out nice and far in any direction. Their bark is rough and textured. Just above my greenhouse, I have a love hate relationship with one. It drops its softball size walnuts each year on the roof of my greenhouse which sound like cannon balls that scare me to death if I’m inside the greenhouse or in my art studio. It’s also very messy with the tree liter. Little twigs and leaves not to mention the walnuts and parts of them are all over. In my garden, on the greenhouse and even manage to land in potted plants.
They’re vigorous little buggers. They want to live. There’s a tap root I swear to China if you don’t catch them early. It seems to me that they grow entirely too fast when young. Probably because I don’t always catch them while young, small and easy to pull. Noooo… I find them when they’re about 3′ tall and require a chain and the backhoe to pull them out.
But aren’t they magnificent? Plus, they make beautiful winter trees. That’s they’re redeeming quality. Well that and they’re nuts if you can get to them. I know people that put them on the road so the cars will run over them to break their shells. That’s a tough shell.
The squirrels adore them though, another reason for my dislike for the location of this particular tree. The squirrels and I are in an ongoing war and unfortunately for me, they’re winning. Damn tree rats. My friend happily feeds her squirrels while I sit here in hiding waiting for the chance to shoot them with my pellet gun. It doesn’t kill them, but it lets them know who’s in charge of the plants on the deck.
I think I should name my tree. Actually, I’ve mentioned it a lot on my blog and it’s been painted and sketched dozens of times. It’s practically a celebrity. Any ideas on a name for my black walnut tree?
These works are a multi faceted practice in experimentation. You can see from the photos, I’ve cut out a mask/stencil first. Then I have added paints to my gelatin plate I made last fall. Printing by applying paint to my plate and adding found objects to add designs in the paint. That’s where the experimentation part comes in. I never know how it’s going to turn out. Some are great, others not so much.
Each one is different. Each unique and considered an original work of art even though it’s a pulled “print”. It’s great fun for me. I ended up selecting my top 9 out of many more that I created for the exhibit. Even if I have a dud, I can go back in and add more pulls, adding texture and designs and it might turn out to be the best one yet, you never know. That’s part of the fun, too.
I’m calling them hybrid pulled prints because I paint on the print and embellish it. It’s a hybrid between a print and a painting.
So, if you swoon over blue you’ll love these cobalts, lapis and my favorite Prussian Blue trees. What is it about blue and white? It’s timeless don’t you think? It looks great in nearly any decor from traditional to modern, rustic country to Victorian. Anything really, at least I think so. But what do I know? I’m an artist not an interior designer. Hah!
The Winter Trees exhibit will be up the rest of January at Alexandrian Public Library in Mt. Vernon, Indiana in the exhibition hall. All pieces are $60 each and are available now, I’ll take them off the wall if there’s one you fancy. The collection will be listed in my online shop soon but don’t wait for that if you want one now, just contact me. Wouldn’t one of these make a lovely Valentine’s Day gift?
The paintings shown are all mounted on gallery wrapped canvas which just means you don’t have to frame it because all the staples that hold the canvas on are hidden on the back. Although they may be framed. The square ones are on the thick, chunky canvas and the rectangle 5×7’s are on traditional 5/8″ canvas and would look their absolute best if framed, but it’s not necessary.
If you can think of a name for my tree, let me know. I’m taking suggestions. Happy New Year!
Learn more about me on the ‘About’ page under the additional links menu. I’m an artist – a painter mostly and an avid gardener. I paint a variety of subjects including birds, koi fish, my gardens, ponds and flowers as well as anything having to do with nature especially trees and tropical scenes. I also enjoy painting abstracts and have started created more and more of them. My most favorite thing to try to achieve in my painting is is mystery and telling mystical stories.
If you would like to keep up with what I’m doing, I have a newsletter e-mailed about once a month that gives you special status for invitations, birthday greeting and more. I’d love for you to add your email to my Friends and Collectors list!