November Maple

It’s the perfect time of year for painting trees. Bare bones and branches, I like the unobstructed view, when limbs, bark, and shapes are revealed. This old maple in my front yard is interesting from almost any angle. I started mid-afternoon in glowing light but, because the sun faded quickly, it took me several days—and patience waiting for the right light again– to finish.

November Maple, 10″x14”, Watercolor on 140lb Arches cold press paper

33 Comments on “November Maple

  1. Lovely Jean. My year round eye level view living amid towering oaks, white pines and graceful birches doesn’t change much, except for loss of the leaves off the few maple, cottonwood and birches. I usually do focus in on studies of the bark outside my windows when working en Plein Air air is less appealing in the Maine winters. I’ve been playing with trees and sunsets in the snow and across the as yet unfrozen Pond.
    Was your background wash applied very carefully afterward, or tree masked before.
    So lovely. Still thinking about your Audubon workshop in Falmouth in Feb. loved learning from you at Hig zisland two summers ago.

    • Hi Cheryl- Thanks for your note. I did the background wash of sky first, working in sections around the major branches and trunk (no mask). The smaller branches were done on top of that wash. BTW, the Falmouth workshop is full, but there may be a waiting list. It’s early, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are cancellations in January. Happy Holidays!

  2. This is gorgeous. I applaud your patience. It’s also lovely to see a larger piece from you. And I see that there are more than six colors in your palette, too?! Though I still see a lot of mixing going on.

    I’m always amazed at an ability to paint a background around the foreground. (I would’ve assumed this was an underpainting with some whites preserved.)

    • Hi Beth- It was nice to do a larger piece and not have a gutter involved. And yes, my palette has expanded, but mixing is, of course, critical! I almost never use a straight-from-the-pan color.

  3. I enjoy winter trees – you can see the shapes of the trees framework that is hidden by the leaves the rest of the year. I love the symmetry and the asymmetry. The color of the bark. Seeing the vacant nests. It’s like you are seeing the soul of the tree.

    • Thanks Jacob. I definitely felt like I was chasing the light as it faded and the shadows changed throughout the late afternoon. I’m glad I managed to capture some of that glow.

    I have been avoiding trees lately, finding bare trunk and branches much too difficult to render. Now I’m not so sure – maybe I should give it a go … challenge myself – .

    • It’s a worthy challenge. There’s a lot of detail, so if/when you get confused, stop drawing and look closely at what is happening– is the branch in front or behind? how is it connected? where is the light and dark? Use the spaces in between branches to help you draw the right angles and proportions. Maybe try just doing a section that interests you, rather than the whole tree to start. Enjoy!

  5. Realmente bonito. No tengo claro si una fuente de inspiración o de desesperación.

  6. Love your capture of that November light. And again that mossy green tinge perfect!

  7. I was thinking the same, particularly as I drove by this one tree, which has revealed the largest hornet’s next I have seen. I feel the owner should take the opportunity to remove it from said tree.

    • Most hornets do not reuse their nests from year to year– a fact I didn’t realize until I brought a huge nest inside to sketch and did some research to be sure it wouldn’t spring to life. Hope that helps you enjoy the tree and the nest more as you drive by.

      • Yugh! Springing to life. That would be terrifying. Yes, and also explains why he hasn’t knocked it down.

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