Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Alder trees and skinny branches

Alders and cliff face
This little painting is from a photo I took during mid-afternoon in the garden of an acquaintance. There was a grove of alders with bright, early summer foliage in front of a dark bluff covered with mixed undergrowth.

Years ago I bought a couple $1 brushes at a Portland art supply and framing store called I've Been Framed because they had really cool, space-agey-looking handles. They were Royal Soft Grip brushes, several sizes standing in a jar. I picked out a couple long-handled brights. I used them a few times on my Burridge exercises but then forgot about them. I picked up the less-used one a few paintings ago and realized that it had the thinnest edge profile of any flat or bright I have. I had never realized how easy it is to get fine lines with a bright that hasn't been beat up. I had gotten into the habit of painting as few branches as possible on trees because I have such a hard time making them thin enough, but each of these alders had dozens of long, quite straight lateral branches, and they really were an important element of this composition.

I found the Soft Grip brushes at, and they were so affordable I bought enough to last me a while, I hope! They really are easy to hold onto because of their unique handle design, so if you have any brush-gripping issues—I don't, but I am clumsy—you might really like them. And, they look cool.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Why paint THIS picture?

I feel as though I'm finally getting closer to simplifying the picture enough to just capture what I want to, in order to answer the question, "Why this picture?"

Little waterfalls at Catherine Creek
Backyard trees, early morning
P.S. - I've finally spun off a blog that's just about my garden. It's at