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Big Tree and the Haystacks

Full disclosure: there are no haystacks in this post. Not any more than to point out something Claude Monet did that was a sensible use of time and resources that made me realize something about a revisited subject. He went and got a room across from Reims Cathedral to paint it and did just as he had with the haystacks. The light changes, so for those who go to the source rather than paint a picture of a photo, accommodations must be made. So he did a series of paintings, switching every two hours. In the end he had a small collection of paintings of one subject done under different light conditions. Very practical.

If we can tell each other how much we adore them and do it regularly and it never grows old or tiring but in fact continues to rejuvenate the heart, then why not do more than a single view of a great painting idea? Why not, indeed!

When I was a lad, my friends and I would measure the great size of old growth timber in our locale by touching fingers surrounding it at the trunk. A big one took five of us. In the rain forests up north the trees are far larger. Maybe we’d have to bus a crowd up there to measure them properly.

bigtree (1200x1117)

So I painted a version of the practice, changing two things just for the sake of a better picture. First, we faced the tree. Second, we leaned on it. That doesn’t make a good painting.  I photographed Lindsay, a college student my friend Ann found. Too bad I was so new at the photo session process because she was seriously pretty and that was wasted for the most part because I wasn’t so good at directing the shoots. I also wasn’t so good as a photographer. Live and learn. I also photographed Jaime and Leah for this concept. I found that acrylic paint was unfriendly to my painting style for people. It worked just fine for the landscape, but seriously hampered the quality in the depiction of the girls. I repainted them again and again, never getting it quite right.

bigtreedeer (1200x1129)


One day not long ago I  painted all the girls out then replaced them with deer. It was a sudden decision. I was responding to the strange reactions I got from people about the painting which led me to believe that one person only liked it. The painting is fairly large and I suspected  it would go unsold as it was.

bigtreesunny (1200x1129)

The next time I had an idea for the tree, I left the actual painting alone and made the changes in software on a copy of the digital image.

This is my version of the haystacks idea. Different versions for different situations. If the need arises, I can always do copies in paint on canvas. I suspect that will come shortly. I love big trees and like them in paintings. Sometimes, I think it’s just fine to take the same view and explore it in different settings.

I like all the versions, but the execution is better with each and all must be brought up to the current standard.


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