Friday, November 9, 2012

Light in the forest

Fir Grove
I roughed this sketch out a few weeks ago, then let it sit while I worked on several other ones. Part of the reason I waited was because I was so happy with the first work on it that I wanted to be as sure as I could that I wouldn't mess it up. After I finished the coralbark painting where I felt so relaxed while I was painting, I thought I was ready to go back to work on it.

The foliage went in pretty easily, and I was pleased to see the effect of the bright afternoon sun getting in was still there when I stopped. I purposely kept the work as loose as possible. I fell into a quandary over how many branches to add. I didn't want too many but I didn't want to have too few either. I'm not sure I chose well on this, and I wonder if maybe I should have just left out the ones that didn't have light falling on them. I kept wondering how many Emily Carr would have put in. Sometimes she only put in one or two branches, where they made important contributions to the composition or to the sense of movement. Other times she would show a lot more of the short, broken branches typical of tall firs in groves which lose most of their lower branches over the years.

These aren't my Douglas fir trees; they belong to a neighbor, but they look just like mine. I love my fir trees, and the afternoon sunlight bouncing through a grove, lighting up the trunks and foliage, is one of my favorite sights to meditate on when I'm outside. Throw in the sounds of chickadees and the occasional red-tailed hawk, and you have a recipe for a wonderful afternoon.