Saturday, June 7, 2008

Pine Trees

They are never the same, these trees. Every time I paint one I find each has its very own unique personality. They stand firm and tall and with a breath of wind they send out a whishing sound. We have about 40 pine trees of every size on our property, and every once in a while, when the air is just so, they will send out just a hint of pine scent. I love Pine trees, and this is why I find inspiration and paint them.

It all started back when I was 12 years old riding my horse to meet my friend. She would ride down the creek, and I would go up until we met. We would agree to meet at the Old Pine Tree. We rode bare back, without food or water, and we wore tennis shoes. To meet at the tree was the beginning of adventure. At the end of the day tired and dusty we would part until the next weekend when we would meet again.

One would think that a symbol of freedom and adventure for me would be my horse that I dearly loved, but a horse requires high maintenance and care, whereas a tree requires nothing but our eyes, our ears, our sense of smell, and on a hot day, the tree offers a respite.

Some of the adventures we had are now bits and pieces of memories, but one thing I still remember clearly in my minds eye, the old tree standing majestically by the road. A place to pause in the shade and wait, a place of quiet and solitude, a place that is free of squabbling siblings, and adults. A place where adventure begins….

Here is what Edgar Payne says about trees;

"Outside of their usefulness, trees are universally loved for their beauty, grace and variety, both in nature and in pictures. The variety in species, and again, variation in the same species, together with the artist’s leeway, gives an unlimited field for originality in picturing these growths. The feeling that trees are living, growing and expanding things gives beauty and rhythm to pictures. Texture, too, adds quality. The semi-rigidness of trees is a good example of opposition in material substance. The trunks and large limbs are rigid and solid, while the leaves and twigs are fluffly and have movement.
To paint trees well, we should know them well. Each and every tree has its characteristics. These should be studied. some trees have very thickly massed foliage which suggests compactness and solidity. Other have sparse foliage with perhaps many openings between the leaves and twigs. Certain species are tall and slender, some more "squatty" or round in form. Aside from their shapes, texture and local color, seasonal changes and atmosphere modify their appearance."

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