I love big gnarly trees. One unfortunate aspect of liking gnarly trees as a painter is that you then might feel compelled to paint them. Painting gnarly trees is a lot of work. Absent most or all leaves, trees are maddeningly complex, but it’s precisely this complexity that makes them interesting.
Sonoma and Marin county up here in Northern California are home to many great gnarly trees, many but not all various kinds of oaks. Added to the rolling hills, there is lots to paint if I want to paint lots of gnarly trees. But if I do, I will probably age prematurely. As with my earlier landscape entries of vineyards, I enjoy spending a little time on various aspects of the local landscape, then moving on to another, and probably coming back around again in time.
This tree in particular just looks impossible, with that trunk and an overall sweep that looks like it spent its entire life buffeted by strong winds. Nevertheless, there it is, large and amazing. To be honest I’m not sure if it’s actually still alive; I would need to revisit it later in the year to see if it ever put out leaf. There did seem to be a few stubborn past leaves clinging to it which makes me think it had recently been in leaf but perhaps was late to bloom again. But even if it isn’t coming back, that it’s still standing there defiantly was pretty inspiring. So I titled the painting, “Resilience” just since it was such a great visual metaphor for so much about life.
“Resilience” was accepted into the 28th Annual National Juried Exhibition of Traditional Oils, and will be exhibited for the Oil Painters of America at Illume Gallery of Fine Art in Saint George UT this Spring.