Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Red Maple (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in) SOLD!

30 March was windy, so I did my painting indoors, looking out.  The Red Maple in the side front yard is just about to burst its buds into scarlet tree flowers.  I painted them in my journal many years ago.  But now I want to paint a portrait of the tree itself, as I see it through the kitchen window. 

Different from the Red Maples that live in our eastern Ontario swamps, the trunk of this one is short and gnarlly, the twigs are sparse and stout, and the branching style is more like that of an Oak than a swamp Maple.  It has an interesting burl near its base that resembles the head of a baby squirrel. 

The leaves of our tree are coarser and thicker tan those of most Red Maples, and one was chosen as the logo for the 30-yrs-later expedition. In years when we tap our yard trees, this one always produces lots of sweet sap.


The yellow lichen on its trunk is a mantle of venerability, and the white ones on its branches are crusty "clean air badges"

Last summer I worried about its thinning crown. Perhaps it has suffered from having had the Eccles trailer parked over its roots for a couple of years. I sketched it during the ice storm of 1997, with its branches bowed down and iced to the roof of the trailer. 

There's a slat in one of the dead trunk stubs in the crown which the Woodpeckers, both Hairy and Downy, and Sapsuckers, like to use to amplify their drumming. There's plenty of dead wood among its gnarly braches to provide abundant insect food for birds.

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What do you think of this painting, and what do you know about the subject that I have painted?