Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Catching Up

It has been a while since the last post so I have some catching up to do. No excuses. Just busy doing some other things to provide inspiration, like travel, completing my scuba license in time to dive off the Monterey Peninsula in CA last week (more on that in a later post) and a number of other side projects that are best left for summer.

Back in August while vacationing with my family in northern Michigan at a one time logging camp/now summer resort, there is a tree stump behind a cottage that we rent. It is quite large and very weathered, so I imagine it is an echo of the forest that used to surround the camp before the operation went bankrupt in the late 1800s. Purchased as a music camp after lying dormant for many years, the result is a splendid resort called Watervale, still owned and operated by descendants of the original purchaser. Its natural beauty and the Victorian charm of the original camp structures have been the source of much inspiration for vacationers and artists over the years.

The remains of this tree have always intrigued me as it lies not too far from a path leading from the back of the cottage. Late afternoon shadows cast by the surrounding trees and flowers interplay with the coarseness of the surface of the aged and faded wood allowing for a delightful dance of texture, light and color.

Johanna's Garden
10 x 14, Watercolor on paper
Birch Over Lower Herring 
10 x 14, Watercolor on paper, 2013

Thinking back on the past couple of years of visiting Watervale, I remembered the piece shown above that I completed last year while sitting at the front of the cottage which faces a small lake. The sheer size of the tree, the complexity of its leaves and trunk and the amazing texture of its bark just begged to be painted. 

It is included here as a comparison to the other painting as they capture different views of the same place at similar times of the year, but separated by a year.