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Art Show: The Orange Show

My Father's Tree

by Dawn Howard White

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Art: My Father's Tree by Artist Dawn Howard White
My father used to paint trees of this sort; they were always stark, living things, full of character, in spite of having no leaves. He always lay them against a vivid background. This is basically a depiction of my own tribute to my father's teachings. I painted layer upon layer of red, then yellow, then red, then yellow again. I would sometimes let the layers dry before applying the next layer, sometimes would blend then wet-in-wet. I used a very large brush with very stiff bristles for the background, so there are still visible brushstrokes. I blended them out in places, but thought they looked rather nice in other places, and left them. The background looked too flat at that point, to me, so I worked in some burnt umber randomly around the edges into the last mixed layer of wet paint to create a sort of misty, funneled look. To form the tree, I bathed my large-ish sumi brush in a lot of kinda thin burnt umber, and just trailed the lines where I wanted them, from the bottom of the trunk to the tip of the twig, so the trunk is made up of a lot of different flowing lines, with the orange background in between. I let the background act as highlights for the bark and branches, since there was so much contrast between the two. After it was dry, I worked some oil-thinned deep yellow very carefully around the twigs and branches I wanted to highlight, since the painting still looked too flat to me. After that, I was satisfied. It was a very theraputic process for me. This painting still hangs in my house, probably because it would cost me an arm and three legs to send it anywhere.

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