featured work: crepe myrtles


The crepe myrtles are blooming right now.  All over the region they are in fullest flower, some trees are covered with blossoms.  I have always loved them from my earliest childhood. My mind connects them to the many journeys to North Carolina to visit my Grandmother back when parts of North Carolina were still rural and wild. I remember the heat and an enormous landscape, a quiet that overflowed with insect noise.

We all have different sources of nostalgia, but I think that sometimes in art we communicate the nostalgia inside the painting — even if your summers had radically different referents — perhaps you can feel the nostalgia as a force in itself and find in a picture something that returns you to a place of special meaning in your heart.

I painted this landscape a couple years ago.  And it’s today’s featured work for my new website at Fine Art America where reproductions of some of my pictures are sold.


This picture pairs well with another crepe myrtles painting, both have similar bright colors and energy.  One is vertical, one is horizontal.

I keep seeing wonderful crepe myrtles on my trips through the region.  I have got to find time to portray them again.  Just drawing the shapes of the forms takes me back to a dreamtime of my past.


aiming the thought

sentinel tree drawing

I have a painting of a sentinel flowering tree that I’m trying to figure out. The drawing in oil pastel is near the same size as the painting (16 x 20 inches).  I’m not sure what color I want for the sky — or even for any of the features.  And I’m seeking a way of making the dimensional sense of the tree strong.

The painting (and the drawing) as they stand are focused on the surface whereas I want the tree to emerge from the surrounding vegetation and to look surrounded by the broad surface of other plants, plants growing so thickly as to be like a sea of leaves and flowers.

Neither the drawing nor the painting has this dimensional feature as yet.  In the drawing I was trying to figure out the color for the sky and thoroughly neglected the sense of dimensions.  Dizzy lines vibrate all over the place.  Forms flatten out.

I’m not really sure what I was doing. Sometimes drawing happens as stream of consciousness.  I’ll probably work on this drawing some more.  Then perhaps turn to the painting again.  Or perhaps I’ll make trial of another sheet of paper first.  But I can see that to get this feeling I want for the tree, I am going to need to direct my attention exclusively there.

And to have the bushes turn into forms would also be nice.  I try to maneuver my thoughts, to aim them.  But I don’t know even quite where to aim them until after I have done some drawing first.