Yes, I sometimes paint trees.
I know. I've spent almost 2 decades building my reputation as the "Texas Wildflower Artist." But several years back when this native Texan finally got to travel and see something beyond our beloved oak trees, annoying-yet-pretty cedar trees, and those scrubby mesquite trees that I grew up with in South Texas, I fell in love with something completely different: Those trees with stark white trunks with the black markings.
First were the Birch trees of New England. Shortly after a trip to Vermont back in 2012, I began thinking of ways to capture on canvas some of the emotion I felt from seeing the white-and-black trees in their fall glory. But it was really a few years later, after getting to see the Aspens found in our travels through the mountains of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, that my creative juices really began to stir. The Aspens are amazing in every season, but especially dramatic in the fall when covered in golden yellow. Even parts of northern Arizona are home to these magical trees and my breath was taken away when I got to see them right after a snow fall while they still had their golden foilage.
In my naivety, I originally thought that the Birch and Aspens were related. Not satisfied with not knowing for sure, I began researching and learned that they two entirely different species of trees. They just look similar, especially from a distance. As explained on one of the National Park websites:
"Quaking Aspens are often confused with birch trees. Although aspen are somewhat similar in appearance to some species of birch, birch trees belong to an entirely different family of trees. Birch are famous for having bark that peels back like paper; aspen bark does not peel. Whereas aspen leaves are perfectly flat, birch leaves are slightly "V" shaped and more elongated than Quaking Aspen leaves."
And so I began to paint what I call my own interpretation of Aspen trees (but if they look more like Birch to a prospective collector, that's fine too). Several of these Aspen paintings have found homes over the years. A few months back, my largest painting of the trees to date, a 36x60 canvas titled "The Aspens are Calling" found its perfect home with new collectors from Austin. Then last month I received a commission for a 24x48 canvas from a Houston collector, who picked it up last week. I love happy clients!
So while I paint a wide range of wildflower-themed paintings and always will, every so often I have to paint more of those Aspen Trees! During a trip last fall, I began looking up to the tops of the trees and imagining them painted on a tall, skinny canvas. I took numerous photos for reference and finally had a chance recently to complete the first of what I hope will be several in a series. This canvas is 5 feet tall and 20 inches wide. In my mind, I can see it placed on wall with the lower third of the painting at eye level. A tall ceiling will be required as the trees almost disappear in the distance above. This painting is titled "Sky High Spendor."
To view all of the paintings currently available in this series, CLICK HERE for my "Aspens and Fall Landscapes" page.