A study of the local Gulf Islands landscape. The ink part was done with carbon black ink in a fountain pen with an ultra fine but flexible nib – really nice to draw with! A quick wash of watercolour brought it to life.
Tom’s evocative haiku! (I took the title of the piece from the haiku – not vice versa.)
face turned up, warm sun
cedar island dreams
Another painting from a walk in Stanley Park in later December. The low slanting sun lit up some branches and tree trunks with a bright luminous glow – one of those sights that stays with you. Like the last painting, this one was painted alla prima. I think when the painting is being completed in one session, I put fewer expectations of perfection on myself and the result is freer and more full of life.
Tom was inspired to write a playful poem for the imagined wildlife of this scene.
Burnished branches standing in the dark
of taller trees, so jealous of the light
that warms the winter chill from broken bark,
reminding passers-by of summer’s bright
seductive evenings. Once not long ago
beneath spring skies two squirrels ran about
chittering while running to and fro
each ignoring all the other’s shouts
of joy and anger, frustration and love
until their dance completed in a tangle
in the branches far and high above
wherefrom a tail might be loosely dangled.
Now in the winter’s chill they’re safe and warm
Curled and sleeping far from winter storms.
I was working on this theme in the summer and have come back to it. What can I say …I love trees! Last time I was working on individual 6″x6″ gessoed boards. This new piece was a different feeling since all the trees were integrated into one piece from the beginning and it took several sessions to complete the whole thing. Definitely not alla prima! The under-painting ranged from purple and magenta around the perimeter to pinks and yellows in the middle. I decided to try putting together the stretchers and canvas myself this time so I was able to select the smoothest weave of canvas the art store had. While nice, and certainly better for my purposes than regular canvas, it was still not quite as delightful to paint on as linen.
Tom’s poem for this painting is rich and deep. He found the words for what I was trying to say with my brush.
A pool of light within the sky
reflecting water’s rippled sheen:
plunging trees all reaching high
spreading branches strong and green.
Looking up into the depths
I see the open spaces swept
by wind and wave as I accept
a promise made, a promise kept.
Down here upon the forest floor
I stand transfixed beneath the vault
of heaven, ever finding fault
with my merely mortal core.
Still among the trees I stand
Between the water, sky, and land.
This is one of my favourites of the series. I can really feel the height of this giant tree and the light filtering through! The under-painting was cad orange and while I found it a bit visually uncomfortable during the process for some reason, I think the end result is good. Curious.
Here is Tom’s mystical haiku written for this one.
bright starburst branches
tangled future, ancient past
rising to the sky
Number three in the series, this one has a magenta under painting. The particular tree is an enormous western red cedar with a twisted trunk I saw in Stanley Park. I like how it starts to melt into the sky.
Here is Tom’s haiku written for this one!
Braided branching trunk
Twisting high into the sky
Shadows down below