Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tree Study 8


Tree Study 8, 6 x 8 in.
nfs

A day or so ago, an artist whose work I quite admire, Randy Saffle, left a good question on my post for me regarding trees in a mass, asking "When you paint a group of trees, do you change which side of the tree is active within the same painting or do you keep it all the same side?"

I thought I would share my response in today's post since I thought it was a great question and something I needed to work with: "You can go either way, depending on the design of the composition and where you want to direct your viewer's eye. I'll have to do some groups of trees and play with that. I do think it all depends on composition.... As a mass of trees, though, you'd play down anything active within the group, and choose a side of the mass to make more active, depending on the composition.

I hope this helps. I'm still figuring it out, obviously, so thanks for the question."

I hope this helps anyone else with that question. I'll definitely be playing more with groups of trees and this concept in this study series. And thank you, Randy!

-julie davis

13 comments:

Laurel Daniel said...

Another great one! Thank you for sharing what you're learning - these studies are such great lessons for all of us!!

Kathy Cousart said...

I am really enjoying learning through you with these tree studies. I am now looking at trees and determining which is the active side and can see what a difference that can make. We probably have similar trees here in Georgia so liked learning how to handle the groupings of trees too. Julie- this has been so helpful and wanted to say thanks.

Rebecca Malone said...

Julie -- thank you for sharing these tidbits -- I can only imagine how great a workshop w/Scott Christensen must have been! I was lucky enough to be in Colorado two weeks ago and saw his work at the Steamboat Art Museum -- so beautiful and inspiring.

Dana Cooper said...

Wonderful posts about your workshop, thanks for sharing Julie!

julie davis said...

I'm so glad it's helpful. It's interesting that a small thing learned can lead to studying much more--I'm loving exploring the simple nugget Scott taught....

Kathy--I hope to paint in Georgia someday--I grew up going there as my Dad was from there. It's beautiful!

Christine Klinger said...

Beautiful, and very helpful. Thanks!

David Boyd, Jr said...

Youve got those trees working pretty marvelously. They hold together so well and carry great weight and volume. Love the loose quality...

Marian Fortunati said...

Okay... I'll show my ignorance... What does it mean to be "active" when talking about a tree?

julie davis said...

Marian, I'd not heard it either before Scott Christensen's workshop. He taught that when painting a tree, generally try to make on side more "active" and one side more "passive." He meant one side should be subordinated to the other, or more simplified than the other. It's all about variety of line and balance within the composition, both of the tree, and the entire painting. Too much "activity" on a tree and it loses it's interest. Does this make sense?

Randy Saffle said...

Julie, Thanks for turning me on to that "Randy" guy!
-Anonymous

Kerri Settle said...

I've really enjoyed your tree study series. You capture the masses so well.

Valérie Pirlot said...

Very interesting concept, thanks for the lesson! I have a question too: is the active side most of the time the one that catches the light? (as I suppose on usually makes the light area a point of focus, just like you would on a building too)

julie davis said...

Valerie, you're not the first to ask. My answer is that most of the time, this is probably true. But just like any "rule" in art, there are situations where it is not always the case. For instance, when you have a mass of trees, or even many within a painting, you may want to emphasize the shaded side of one or more of the trees, even though the focal point of the overall painting may be nearer or directly on the light side of one or a group of trees. It depends upon the composition, and where you are trying to direct a viewer's eye. Hopefully this helps!