As much as I love trees, (being in them, under them, and surrounded by them), I have found my desire to draw them meets constant resistance.
This started in 2nd grade. I had just finished painting the Christmas tree for the class holiday mural and stepped back to assess it with my beloved teacher. She leaned in and said, "you really don't know how to paint trees, do you?" I had, in my defense, been turning the brush this way and that for texture, but I guess it did not translate.
The shock of that exchange has lived inside me for all these years. When students ask me to demonstrate a tree in paint, I can do it, but often there is an echo inside my head that wonders if they will catch on and see that I "really don't know how to paint trees."
It's hard not to paint or draw trees when you do a landscape, or create a place. Being a fictionalist, my paintings often illustrate a real setting and trees often sneak into the frame. My trees grow out of small gestures, blurred as if my reading glasses had failed me in clarifying the languages of limbs and leaves.
Then in college, my professor declared that I must eliminate green from my palette. Apparently green paintings are unsuccessful and never sell. So my greens come in shades of purple and ochre and pyrollian orange.
So I am starting this project of painting close to 100 small paintings of trees at the ripe age of 59 in order to move through the critics, the ghosts, the self-talk, and the comparisons. I hope to explore different ways to convey the importance of trees and I know it might take close to 100 times get it right.
I hope you can join me when I present my tree stories going forward. Thanks for looking.