Sunday, January 27, 2013

Still Standing--oil painting


Still Standing, oil (alkyd) on linen, 12x12
Since it was cold and icy, I slid out to my studio for the last couple of days.  This tree is down by my dock; I always stare up at it for a while before walking back up to the house.  I don't know if it's still alive--it's surrounded by other trees and I can't tell if there's any green at the very top; there's none on the lower branches.  I thought it was a cedar; now I'm not sure--the trunk is rather hairy.  I painted this from memory; the photo is a bit different.  I like that this is stark naked against the cold sky.

Maybe I should title it reforestation.  

Sketches for Still Standing
During the past year, I've thought of the tree often.  I like the one on the left--Crayola crayons on card stock.  Top right is hydrus watercolor, and lower right is, I believe, oil (it was painted from the photo). 
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33 comments:

  1. I have to admit that it is the crayon piece that I find most beautiful - both color and texture just sings to me. Great job, Hallie!

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    1. Oh, the crayon drawing was so much fun! Found a big box in my studio-- had bought them about ten years ago and my mother's name was on them. We spent time coloring when she was in the nursing home.

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  2. The dimensional qualities bring Still Standing to life, and the color in the finished piece is rich and lush so something about the tree is definitely alive! I see two figures intertwined... call me a romantic.

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    1. Thank you, Robin. I do a lot of squinting and standing back when I paint--like to see that dimension. I noticed the two figures the first time I saw the tree--that's what I like (and I'm not a romantic).

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  3. Ah, trees... the love of my life since I was very small. It helps when you grow up next to a large wooded area. I am so attracted to them but they show up infrequently in my work. Trees always make me think of branching and all sorts of other possibilities in life. Thanks for a lovely image to get me thinking about trees again.

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    1. Hi Margaret. I remember all your photos of trees from a few years back. I thought you had painted a series, but I believe your series was about gardens and benches. You haven't been blogging frequently; I've missed you. I grew up in the country and always loved spending time in the woods. The trees on my street and in my back yard are very old and very tall--I consider myself lucky.

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  4. It's a wonderful tree, strong and beautifully painted. Either way you made it come alive :-)

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    1. Thank you Jane. You've painted some beauties.

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  5. Hi Hallie,
    Gorgeous painting! I've always been a big fan of your work.

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    1. Kathy! How nice of you to comment. I keep track of all your shows and classes--hope you're loving Maine.

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  6. wow! fantastic painting....and from memory! I love that you've drawn and painted this tree a few times in preparation for the final version. It is like you "communed" with the tree. Does that sound corny? Well, I can't think of a better word. I like the starkness of it too. Applause!

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    1. Thanks Celeste. I like "communed." I always feel a kinship with old trees--probably because I read Celestial Prophecy many years ago. (Well, I actually felt it when I was very young--long before reading the book.)

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  7. Hallie- This tree painting is gorgeous! I absolutely love your composition and the beautiful browns against the light blue sky.
    The title says it all. I guess we can learn from trees.
    I really appreciate how you show the work leading up to the finished piece. The time and effort you put into it shows in the final piece.
    In a word... spectacular!

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    1. Thank you PAMO. I finished this painting in two long sessions and worried that it was too easy to be good because I'm usually a really slow painter. If I count all the staring and thinking and sketching, it was at least a five-year project, one of many on my to-paint list.

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  8. My heart strings round thee cling,
    Close as thy bark, old friend!
    Here shall the wild bird sing,
    And still they branches bend.
    Old tree! the storm still brave!
    And, woodman, leave the spot;
    While I've a hand to save,
    Thy axe shall harm it not...George Pope Morris

    Well done Hallie....Everette

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  9. Beautiful Hallie, trees never fail to teach us no matter in which stage they are in.. This for me seems to be waiting.. Waiting to evolve in to a full bloom, waiting with hope!

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    1. Padmaja, what a wonderful thing to say--hope. I guess I see endurance; your sight is younger.

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  10. I've had this problem lately - I think I comment and then find out I have not. I like the shapes here, the strong silhouette against the sky, the starkness, the contrast between the warm browns and cool blue. Very nice!

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  11. Thanks Dan. Before putting paint to linen, I thought what kind of brown? None. It's actually purple, ochre, black and white, then touches of red. All my coloring book trunks were brown--now I really look at trees; then just pick a color, wth--more fun. Like your red sky.

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  12. Très joli travail!
    Bonne journée à toi.
    Cath.

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    1. Thank you Cath. You have a great day, too.

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  13. Hallie, Trees are one of my greatest joys. I love them. If I had the money I would have one of every variety in my own landscape.

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  14. Thanks, Sue. I agree, trees are beautiful. Have you thought of painting one of each variety?

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  15. Hallie,

    I think I will call it the Anniversary Tree, still standing after all the years.

    Everette

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  16. Hallie, I love the looks of your sketches and the way you chose to paint the old tree -- especially the knot near the crotch. Wonderful! I like art done from memory -- reality filtered through your personal world. Also,I like that you are so accomplished in a variety of mediums.

    I had a friend ask me how I could decide what to paint and how -- that I am such a generalist. Never really thought about being one.

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    1. Thank you Mary.

      I looked up generalist just to be sure and M/W used the medical field as an example. I guess we might make more money as specialists!

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  17. Art galleries provide proof that specialists are favored -- they like a "body of work" and surely mean work that is closely related.

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  18. You've captured the spirit of this old tree beautifully. I love how some of the branches come towards the viewer. Often when tree limbs are painted they all look like they're on the same plane, all extending out to the left, the right and up. I guess what I'm really trying to say is, great use of the shadows and lights to show depth.

    I had to smile at your comment to PAMO about it seeming too easy. I hope you enjoyed that moment, because they don't happen very often.

    -Don

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  19. Thank you Don. I did work hard on getting those branches to come forward--there's no way to be near this side of the tree without being under it (it's on the edge of the cove). I looked at it from my back yard today; it is a cedar and has green on the upper limbs.

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  20. I love all the ways you painted this tree.Sad that it may be dead. I have one beside my house that is dying. I am afraid I'll have to have it removed this spring. Beauty before the fall.

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  21. Venerable, Stately. Sure hope it doesn't follow me around the room.

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