#artbern #berntx #crashboomzip #painting #art #abplanalp #austinartists #pleinairaustin #cedarallergies #HOL #bartonsprings
Cedar Season is my second plein air session of the year… I’m falling behind and need to get outside more often as Spring is upon us. However, to my credit, it’s not easy going into the field in Austin in January and February because cedar allergies are at peak. But last month I doubled up on the Claritin and headed into the woods along the Hill of Life and Barton Springs Greenbelt.
I brought my trusty painting sidekick, Zip, to help keep an eye out for any suspicious squirrel activity. Actually, I should say she’s my aspiring painting sidekick, of which this session was an initial interview. The real question was to see if she could manage 2-3 hours of watching me paint, or otherwise occupy herself without wandering around wreaking havoc with her 12 ft leash.
Let’s be clear – I hate Texas cedar trees. They account for all of my sinus headaches in January and February, and anywhere they grow, they take over the landscape. Supposedly they’re not an invasive species, but last time I checked “invasive” was defined as “(especially of plants or a disease) tending to spread prolifically and undesirably or harmfully.” So, like I said, they’re invasive.
Why did I opt for a painting of cedars? Well, it turns out they create a very pretty landscape when you’re buried in a forest trail of the damned things. I also wanted to tackle the challenge of all the greens, trunks, and cast shadows.
A few compositional decisions that seemed to work well. First, the cedar trunks are a brownish red color, so I used a heavy dose of Alizarin Crimson to accent the focal areas of the larger trees; I believe that mix also has some Indian Red, too. The second decision was to make the cast shadows very dark, which works well (at least I think so… what about you?) in creating more contrasts and a sense of tree coverage.
In terms of the sidekick interview, Zip got the job! She was very relaxed and entertained by my strange activity, but occasionally treats fell from the sky… so she was content.
Thanks for reading!