Walking Out of the Woods

TM8968 Walking Out of the Woods 36×40 oil on panel

I look at a stand of trees and I always feel the need to paint their portrait. Maybe it’s my respect for them and all the important work they do, providing housing for native fauna (and humans), cleaning the air, providing cool relief in summer….the list could go on. There is a majesty in their upright form, and I can feel the struggle and joy of young trees reaching up to the light. Throw in the gaiety of autumn and the whole thing becomes irresistible. Details below. Enjoy.

TM8968 Walking Out of the Woods – detail from right of center showing layered textures and spatter

TM8968 Walking Out of the Woods – detail from lower right quadrant showing loose suggestion of closer foliage

TM8968 Walking Out of the Woods – detail from left side

Technical painting notes: I began the painting in my usual way, applying dark oil paint with a soft rubber roller, then scraping into and wiping away paint to suggest the basic lines and forms of the subject. Spattered mineral spirits, blotted and rolled, created interesting textures to suggest foliage. I also spattered the panel with some green and burnt sienna paint. When the base was dry, I mixed a blue for the sky and painted the “negative” space, going lighter in value as I worked toward the horizon. I wanted to create windows of view through the trees. Glazes and additional scraping followed. I used a fairly dry paint to suggest foliage and define lights in the tree trunks. In general, the goal was to create pockets of focused detail while allowing other parts of the painting to be merely suggested.

5 thoughts on “Walking Out of the Woods

    • Thank you. You are right, it’s the quality of randomness, or rational chaos, that is so important when painting nature. That’s why I start with monoprint techniques that are a bit out of control, then try to not to bury the chaos when I start defining forms.

  1. It may be unintended, but the suggested tree trunks gives them a ghostlike quality. I like the play between the positive and negative shapes and your rich color palette.

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