Sunday, December 11, 2011

Japanese Maple Tree Painting

It's not often that I venture away from my usual subject matter of figures and faces, but a few weeks ago, right at the end of Fall, there was a beautiful Japanese Maple Tree just around the corner from my house that was the most gorgeous shade of red.  It was one of the last trees in the area to hold onto it's leaves, which made it stand out even more.  I happened to pass by one late afternoon, and the sun was just low enough to light the entire tree from behind, giving the red leaves an incredible glow.

The next day I made sure to have my camera in the car, and I stopped again in front of the tree so I could take a picture of the tree in the late afternoon light.

I used a 30" square panel, starting with a charcoal drawing and then applying a thin layer of modeling paste.  After that dried, I blocked in some of the sky and ground.  It was very strong colors at this point, and more cool than warm.

Next I used copper leaf under the tree to show all of the dried leaves below.  I only wanted a few pieces, I didn't want the copper to dominate the painting.  I also used a palette knife for the first layer of red leaves.
Once these dried, I added more leaves in an intense cadmium orange and red mix.

The thick palette knife application took several days to dry, and I added a few more layers of color to the sky, settling on a soft greenish grey that complimented the red tree.  I finished the painting off with a glaze of ochres and brown to bring warmth to the entire piece, also emphasizing the texture of the modeling paste.

I loved the creation of this piece and I think there will be more to follow!


Unknown said...


Ron said...

beautiful painting...I love the reds that come in fall. Can't wait to see more.

Eny said...

This is gorgeous!