Working in fits and starts


I work in fits and starts, and recent weeks have been busy with distractions — some of them quite removed from painting and art.  (Unless you consider helping a child make a Halloween costume art!)  But I did get away for a few hours to make a drawing straight from nature — on a lovely autumn afternoon as the guest of this welcoming tree.  You can compare the drawing with a photograph below.


I think it’d be fun to draw it from the photo, too.  And I may do so.

Or I might not.  I find that I’m often capricious when it comes to making plans.  I’ll call that artistic license!

Tree at Night

Taking walks at night has sometimes provided my summer form of exercise.  The heat of day has dissipated.  City crowds have dispersed.  A few lingerers provide a companionable backdrop without interfering with one’s desire for solitude.  Appearances change.  The shadows of evening going into night, added to a city’s desire for constant illumination, make for interesting contrasts.  Trees usually lit from above in the sun’s brilliance are lit from below or from other odd angles, which makes for unexpected shadows and textures.

This painting arose from memories of walks I used to take when my daughter was little.  Some evenings I was able to slip away for a brief interlude of exercise and quiet thinking while she slept and was watched by others.  We have some enormous old trees in the city and I had a favorite which back then I sometimes drew.  Revisiting it now in memory adds something also, a touch of nostalgia and meaning that comes with the passage of time.  Reflection and reverie have changed the tree from a real one into a dream with branches.