It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I love trees, the more majestic they are the better and it’s hard to come across a tree with more presence than a redwood. I few years ago we planted a dawn redwood in our backyard hoping to one day have a tree similar to the mighty redwoods out west. The first tree didn’t make it since a cat used the trunk as a scratching post thereby killing it. We planted another in its place which is growing along nicely. I found a few pictures of the second dawn redwood on my computer and I was inspired to paint a mature redwood forest and I searched through several reference photos’ before finding a few to use. So this painting was completed in memory of the beautiful young dawn redwood that just wasn’t to be.
You can also read more about Metasequoia glyptostroboides from Michael A. Dirr’s book Hardy Trees and Shrubs: An Illustrated Encyclopedia Here
I tried to capture a sense of dampness and heaviness in the painting and perhaps a feeling of things lurking around the corner as is if the creatures of the forest have been frightened away by the viewer’s sudden appearance. I’ve started the painting a couple months ago with the mass planning and compositional block-in before beginning to lay in the first layer of color. I then set it down for a few weeks and completed a few pastel paintings since they come along much more quickly than my oil paintings. When I returned to this work it was time to begin layering in the foliage and textures of the tree bark followed by the surface layers of the water and reflections. After looking at the work for a couple days, I made a couple changes in the focal area and layered in more cerulean blue to help capture the viewer’s interest, or at least cerulean blue always gets mine, I think it is one of the most beautiful colors an artist can have on their palette and it’s wonderful for mixing good clear earthy greens, especially when combined with yellow ochre.
I’m never completely happy with anything I paint, however, this one seems to have a certain presence about it that doesn’t always happen so this one gets a passing grade.