Thursday, September 2, 2010

Apples and Lichens (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

31 August finds us at White's Lake, Nova Scotia, admiring a licheny old Apple tree that is being shaded out by Spruces.  There is no way that I can get close enough for a plein air painting, as the view that I want is from right inside the tree, standing on one of the large rocks that line the side of the parking lot.  The beach is busy with bathers, but I hardly glance at the lake, as I'm entranced with the lichen-encrusted world among the branches of this tree. It is crowded by Spruces, to the side and behind, and its leaves look tired and many have bites and brown spots, but it bravely bears a small crop of bright red fruit.  These three apples are low enough for me to capture in my reference photos for a painting. Yes, this one will be painted entirely from photos because "onsite" would be standing on a rock and ducking up among the branches - technically too difficult for sitting to paint the view that I want - and no room for a standing easel.

The tree must be very old to have gotten this licheny.  Tufts of pale green Usnea join the foliose species that cling as frilly pale gray and green mats to the Apple bark. Lichens may cover a tree but they don't sap its strength. The closer you get to the coast, the younger the forest is that's draped with lichens.

This brown water lake along Highway 333 south west of Halifax, is very close to the sea, but separated from the salt water.  Fred has walked some of the shores, but hasn't found any mollusc shells.

1 comment:

  1. It's beautiful, Aleta. And I know you didn't mean to be funny, but I had to laugh when I imagined an artist trying to paint with oils while standing on a rock inside a tree. The only thing more difficult might be trying to paint with watercolors.
    I saw many old apple trees while traveling by train on the Gaspe Peninsula this spring. They were bravely blooming and I wanted to get a picture but it's pretty much impossible from a train. The observation car windows might have been cleaner than my window but then I'd have been taking pictures looking down on the old apple trees.
    I'm so pleased you found this tree with its shawl of lichens to wear in its old age, and painted it so now it will live on.


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