What is it about this giant old sugar maple that has me captivated? I painted the same tree last week, though from a different vantage point, but it still has a hold on me. So, I stand outside in the late day cold trying to untangle the jumble of big limbs. I work the branches and the spaces between them, piecing together how everything fits. I get lost in the lines, shift focus, keep going. Forty-five minutes later, my own limbs are growing stiff.

I could go out tomorrow and begin again.

Sketching Through the Winter
12/18/20 4-5:30 (EST) / 1-2:30 (PST), FREE, via Zoom

Register: Winslow Art Center
Grab your sketchbook and join me for inspiration and techniques for sketching both inside and out throughout the winter.

26 Comments on “Captivated

  1. They do have personalities, don’t they Jean? When I come upon a familiar one along the road or in the forest, it’s as if there is my friend and ” look at you today! ”
    This is so pleasant to look at and I really like the color blue or mix you used. Welcome home Ben!!

    • Thanks Michele– that blue is indigo. I don’t use it much because it contains black, but it fit the mood. Oh those blue-gray winter skies, we have many months of them to come. Maybe I better keep the tube handy.

  2. Yes….I agree…the tree is captivating. There seems to be some ancient wisdom that exudes from it….

  3. I registered for the Sketching thru the Winter Dec. 18. So far I have not received a confirmation . I want to make sure it was received. janice fleetwood-bean

  4. I LOVE your tree!! Actually, I love trees…..period….and totally get why it “grabbed” you! I admire you for all your sketching outside while looking directly at your subjects. I personally am not successful at that for several reasons but the main one being that I get too distracted by everything else around. I need total concentration, so, alas, I am resigned to sketch/paint from photos. Thanks for sharing this beautiful specimen with us!

    • Thanks Teresa– It’s interesting that you get too distracted; I find that once I start, my concentration is intense. The cold shakes me back to reality. But I’m for whatever works at this time of year to keep on sketching. Wishing you good trees…

  5. I’d suggest, stay in today, have that hot coco with a sweet treat because,
    You captured that beautiful tree wonderfully Jean.

  6. Sheri Blaukopf also recently posted a painting of a few bare trees. Now your post urges me again to try to seek the beauty found in winter trees. Lovely paintings on both of your work and Shari’s. Blue is my favorite color!
    On my daily morning walk, I am often distracted by the tangled branches of trees in a canopy as I pass by. Further inspired today by your posting, I will try to capture the beauty I see in bare trees in my back yard. I’m close enough to paint from inside but can also get out for short periods to begin. Thank you for the beauty you describe so eloquently.

    • Hi Bernadette- I’m glad you have some to practice on nearby. Sometimes I need to walk around up close to see what the limbs are doing, then go back to my vantage point to sketch. But it’s nice to have the indoor option!

  7. How fun! I just signed up for the zoom class. (Note to Janice, above: I got an email reply that includes a link to their online classes…..)
    Something to look forward to! Thanks Jean.

    • Oh great Melissa! I’ll look forward to “seeing” you on Zoom. Thanks for the note about registration. I need to check on it for Janice– glad to know how it worked for you.

  8. Simple beauty. I’ve turned my attention to anything above the snow now myself. In a way the trees are more interesting in winter because, for me anyway, I can see their true form. You’ve captured this one perfectly.

  9. Your tree is rugged and wintry, your text is captivating, and your Winslow workshop was wonderful! (how’s that for a little alliteration?). It was such a pleasure to sit down and sketch, so thank you for that. But even more, it was a pleasure to hear your voice and watch you in action. One thing that struck me was how accessible you are. Your informal style draws me in, makes me feel comfortable, and puts me at ease. I was surprised at how quickly you work – that was a revelation. It was just fabulous, I can’t say enough about this experience (and I actually completed a decent sketch!). Thanks again, Jean. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your note, Lynn. I’m really glad you enjoyed the class and completed a sketch– Excellent! Without much feedback while the Zoom is running, it’s really hard to know if I’m connecting. So it is really great to hear from folks afterward! I tend to sketch quickly and paint slowly, but try to speed up the process for a class like this so that you can see more of it. I will post my final sketch here this weekend. Keep your camera clicking or pen moving…you have so much to see and say. Best, Jean

      • Oh, you were connecting! But that makes sense – it’s like speaking into a void. The few faces I could see were absorbed either in listening or sketching – it was nice to see both. I thought you might post the completed sketch here – that will be good. Although I agree with all you said about this time of year and the importance of getting out, the darkness and frequent rain we’ve had are keeping me in more than usual. But I’m sure it’s temporary – I’ll get back out more soon. Thanks for the encouragelment. 🙂

  10. Beautiful. Trees are fascinating. I once had a blogger write about heritage trees. She told the stories of the trees and what they would see. Merry Christmas.

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