Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tree School

Tree Study in Turquoise
@ 6" x 5"
Pastel
Casey Klahn



The title "Tree School" sounds like it belongs at an arborist's convention, or maybe a logging camp. But, I want to offer my artist's take on rendering trees with pastel.


Trees can be an awful distraction in a painting. Especially if they are present but not the subject, and if they take up too much of your effort.

We all enjoy graphite drawings in detail of a beautiful tree. Great texture, perfect modeling, and wonderful presence are what please us. But, that is the tree drawing where the tree is center stage; the star of the show. What about when the landscape is about things other than how the trees look? What do you do then?

Additionally, you can face a problem when the trees are the main content, but not the subject. I mean by that the painting where a color composition is the subject of the painting, or maybe something like the motion of one's eye through the woods. Trees have a built-in drama to them, and I propose that too much detail can distract from the message.

Return here to attend my short course on trees in pastel, and I leave you with this hint: don't begin with green.

8 comments:

Brian McGurgan said...

Looking forward to your course on trees, Casey. Is this a new drawing? It'll be great to see some new drawings coming out of your snowbound studio. I like the composition and color here very much.

Robyn said...

I'll be here, Casey. Looks like a very helpful exercise for painting in oil en plein air too.

Casey Klahn said...

Yes, Brian, these are new postings. I did these last summer, but they were put aside. After scanning (adjusting for the scan) and cropping, they make a nice graphic presentation.

Absolutely right, Robyn. I meant to get in that idea, and thanks for bringing it up.

Casey Klahn said...

We had an ice storm here last night - the kids and I in the van, had a power pole break right in front of us yesterday afternoon. Arcing light shot 20 feet above the insulators, and the pole snapped in the middle and fell towards us -yipes! Slow motion, silent movie image, and in black & white, too!

I called 911, and got home, but the lines fell across the neighbors' road, so they couldn't get in.

marikris said...

Casey, you mentioned that you scanned the image: has pastel dust ever posed a problem for your scanner? I've been taking photographs of mine because I was afraid of dust in the glass.

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks for the q., marikris. My scanner is dated to @ 1999 or so, and it is a very nice HP. But old.

Anyway, the glass is still okay after many of these, but it is possible some dust could leak down the side seams. But then again, the housing is a large area.

My greatest concern is the outcome of the images. This image is (even after adjustment) far from the actual art. But, the graphic parts still show through, so I let it be. And, it is illustrative of my tree ideas for this series.

I guess I look at it as a risk I take with an old peripheral. My two cousins are engineers for hp - I'll ask about this sometime.

Keep in mind that I am the guy who ran Wallis sand paper through my printer...that's another story!

Gesa said...

great... i'll be looking forward this! i just admired a few days ago your maple leaves over at the sales blog but it wouldn't let me say so... i'll keep my eyes peeled.

Casey Klahn said...

The Maple Trees are in the folder for this series, BTW.

Thanks for reading, Gesa. Lets get the trees, and keep the gesture and color, too, huh?