Posts Tagged ‘pine’

Musing with Cezanne: Focus on the Pine

July 30, 2018

There would be other trees, but his first love was the pine. For Cezanne, the pine itself was a lieu de memoire, a memory place, redolent with mythology, packed with history, and charged with feeling. 

Alex Danchev, Cezanne: A Life

cezanne pine

Cezanne, “Large Pine and Red Earth”

This Large Pine and Red Earth is more than a tree: it is a personality. It is also a vision. Cezanne painted the treeness of the tree, as Kandinsky said. The branches are twisted or contorted; the foliage shimmers.

Alex Danchev, Cezanne: A Life

pine photo

This is my third consecutive summer at Riverbend Resort in South Fork, Colorado. I have been coming to this place since 1999, but am now on my sixth visit. My favorite place to reside is the Brookie Cabin with this view from the deck overlooking the stream. And every year, my time has been divided deliciously between fly fishing in the stream and plein air painting from this deck.

In 2016, I spent every sunrise on this deck, with fresh coffee, reading essays from Martin Heidegger and translating Greek Pre-Socratic fragments. Every time I looked up from my reading, I was smitten with this rugged pine in front of me, the rusty-red texture of its bark, and its needles against a hazy mountain backdrop. Finally, I attempted a 5×7″ plein air watercolor sketch of it. Liking what I saw, I framed and matted it, and before I knew it, the painting had become the property of someone else. In all my years, I have never regretted a sale, but in the two years passing, I have regretted letting this one go.

pine 2016

And so it happens, I’ve been reading this Cezanne biography, and learned that the pine was his favorite tree, for many of the same reasons that I have been so smitten with this solitary Colorado pine from the past three summers. As is my custom, I’ve spent nearly every morning on the Brookie deck this visit, with my coffee and books, and have decided to give this painting another try.

pine me

I have spent the past two mornings working on this 9×12″ plein air composition. I always quit once the sun gets high enough that the bark loses its intense color. When painting en plein air, I usually work quickly, completing an 8×10″ composition within the hour. But this one is different. Like Cezanne, Leonardo da Vinci, and Willem de Kooning, I am now spending many minutes between brushstrokes, and often laying the painting on the deck floor to look at from time to time while reading and sipping coffee. I guess you could say I am composting. This painting is coming along very slowly, but every layer, every brushstroke, and every pencil stroke is studied. And I am greatly enjoying this process.


Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.


Some Un-Photoshopped Watercolor Sketches, June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010

Cruise three

Cruise Two

Cruise One

Granlibakken cedar

Granlibakken evening

It’s been quite a conference at Lake Tahoe.  I’m here for the International Baccalaureate conference.  I packed my watercolor supplies hoping to create some on-site, plein air sketches.  An abundance of required classes, and several important planning meetings with my campus have all but squeezed out every opportunity.

But . . . I did steal some time.  The one titled “Granlibakken Cedar” I did first, this morning, between breakfast and the first class.  I only had 15 minutes, but there it is.  I also must add that I don’t have Photoshop capability here on my laptop, so the editing of these photos, taken under incandescent lighting conditions, leaves much to be desired.  There is indeed much more color on these pages than what appears on the blogsite.

The three cruise titles I did this afternoon while on a 90-minute cruise around Lake Tahoe.  This is my first attempt to paint snow packs on mountain ranges from life.  As you can see, #1 is very light and tentative, but  by the time I got to #3 I was starting to get a little more bold in color in contrast.  Incidentally, it’s also the first time I tried to paint a lake surface en plein air.

The one titled “Granlibakken Evening” was one I tried after dinner.  The light was fading, and again, I only had about 15 minutes to work on it before being called away to another campus planning meeting.

Thanks for reading.  I’m glad I got to do a little watercolor sketching while out in this beautiful location.  I’m also delighted to be included in International Baccalaureate–it comes to our campus Fall 2011.  I’m excited to take part.  I’ll be teaching the course Theory of Knowledge.

Tomorrow I fly back home and hopefully engage in some plein air work without distractions and interruptions.