The Naked Tree

5:53 AM

Memory Sketch of Lake Davis Park Bald Cypress
Watercolor and acrylic
3.5 x 8.5 inches
Handbook Watercolor Sketchbook

Actually, not naked, just bald. As in the Bald Cypress or Taxodium distichum....I think I prefer bald. Anyway, out at Lake Davis again, I saw this tree with the large, dark back drop of green scrub oaks. Slightly in front, stood the cypress and the trunk just glowed in the late afternoon sun. It looked like that whitish gray that dead trees get after they've weathered a summer or three in the Florida sun. However, this tree is very much alive and healthy.

The whole scene struck me as rather odd. With the light backlighting the green oaks, they looked far greener than they actually are at this time of year. Nearly yellow instead. The grasses and ground cover are all brown and crunchy from some of our recent freezes. And a white, glowing tree trunk. Odd combination.

I'd love to tell you this was done on location but twas not case. I did this as a memory sketch to see if I could recreate the view. I can tell you it doesn't really match up with what I see in my mind....and I can also tell you that seldom happens. It is close enough that I will remember the afternoon and the light. And that is enough.

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11 Creative Thought(s)

  1. More times than not my sketches are not what I have in my mind (I'm quite a brilliant artist in my mind :)). I think you've hit on a good reason to sketch, even when it doesn't come out exactly as you had envisioned: to remember the moment and preserve it not only on paper but in your brain. Your sketch is lovely, of course, but I'll bet the emotions it conjures up are just as important to you.

  2. Unclothed trees are often more beautiful than their verdant counterparts - put the two together and it makes for a wonderful contrast. Haven't tried a memory sketch - not sure my poor brain's up to it!

  3. Love that title and the whole composition is so interesting. Love the back lighting.

    I giggled at Kathy's remark about being a brilliant artist in her mind. We all need to think that thought.

  4. You used such beautiful greens for your trees!

  5. I think it's great for a memory sketch. I have a real problem with working from memory. I think you got the gist of what you said about the spot: yellow lit trees, brown crunchy ground and white bare tree in front of the leaved trees. The memory is still in your head but when it's not this page will certainly bring it back for you. I guess that's what I am hoping my journal paintings do - bring back memories I'll forget otherwise. Frankly, I think you painted a nice picture even if it doesn't match your memory exactly.

  6. I am afraid you dont want to see what I paint from my mind. :) Nothing comes out as I thought I saw it. This is a good sketch. I like how you did the blues in the tree in front so It stands out from the back trees.

  7. It definitely creates a contrast. Really like your grumpy bird painting. He looks a lot like our birds around here this morning at -22 and only -1 yesterday

  8. "Close enough" still provides a special memory. Thanks for encouraging us to capture something that is 'close enough' rather than not starting.

  9. At least you are seeing green! Wheher or not it mirrors the real thing, it still is a beautiful painting. Maybe won't be too much longer for us. I saw daffodil sprouts sticking out of the leaves this morning!! Yay!

  10. I'm jealous because you're seeing GREEN!!! ...and I love the's soft and beautiful, and whether it's exact or not, the memory is now locked in.

  11. "I can tell you it doesn't really match up with what I see in my mind....and I can also tell you that seldom happens. It is close enough that I will remember the afternoon and the light. And that is enough."

    That's what matters :) This is lovely and you've captured the feeling of light on the tree perfectly!


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