Forest of Autumn Gold

Forest of Autumn Gold.jpg

Living in Asheville, North Carolina as an artist in the River Arts District, I don't see many birch trees in the woods around here. Western North Carolina has river birches and they're nice and all, but we do not have proper "paper birch" trees. Thankfully, I don't have to just paint local scenes (though I do end up celebrating the mountains and trees of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains more than anything else). This painting, "Forest of Autumn Gold" is based on my memories of a certain October thirty four years ago when Joy and I visited the state of Maine on our honeymoon. Birch trees (proper paper birch!!) were everywhere. I remember the sound of the leaves in the wind roared like a waterfall. So beautiful.

Birch and aspen trees are magnificent in art. I lump them together simply because with my somewhat impressionistic style, I paint both birch and aspen trees in a similar manor. They are graphically perfect! Black on white. What a great design!! And they stand out against the foliage perfectly in any season. Seriously, in winter, spring, summer or (especially autumn), the tree trunks of the birch or aspen trees always stands out against the color of the leaves. Think about it...what other tree trunk steals the thunder of it's leafy canopy like birch or aspen? Okay, the Sequoia Gigantia in California probably wins but that's the only other tree that does. 

So I celebrate the beauty of autumn in Maine (or Colorado, depending on whether you see these as paper birch or aspens). Either answer is correct. Cheers!

"Summer Path Thru the Birch Trees"

Already Longing for Summer

Introducing...."Summer Path Thru the Birch Trees" (18" x 24") This was a revisiting of an older oil painting I did a couple years ago. This time, I went smaller and added more texture and trees. And rather than finished with a thick glossy coat of resin, I finished it with a softer, more subtle finish (satin varnish) which seals it all but still leaves all the texture visible. This composition reminds me of an awesome summer back when I was a young teenager. My brother had a best friend who had a family cabin and many, many acres of property on the north shore of Francois Lake in northern British Columbia, Canada. The deal was that he would spend a couple months there on the lake, and then we (my mom, dad and sister) would come visit for several days and pick him up. We meandered up the Pacific Coast Highway, visited my uncle on Bainbridge Island just off the coast from Seattle, crossed into Canada at Vancouver and drove north up the Fraser River Valley toward Francois Lake.

Francois Lake was a remote and awesome finger lake, very deep and very clear. The water was so pure that the locals had to ADD minerals to it so they could drink it and still get the minerals they needed to be healthy. Crazy. And the old farm (complete with rustic log house and cool old barns) was amazing. I'd never seen a place like it before. The old dirt roads and fields were mostly overgrown (it had been a while since it was a real working farm) but I clearly remember exploring along the road to the upper field, birch trees and wild flowers surrounding me everywhere. The sound of birch trees in the wind is unforgettable. 

Anyway, I can't paint a landscape featuring birch trees and not remember that spectacular summer holiday. We've since visited Canada many times (from coast to coast) and never tire of the spectacular beauty of that place.



"Golden Pathway"

"Golden Pathway" (4' x 5')

"Golden Pathway" (4' x 5')

Birch Trees in Autumn

#4 of 4. This is the last panel for the Oklahoma City commission I have been working on. I poured the first layer of resin on this one and embedded thousands of pieces of broken up gold on top of the tree texture on the canvas. It's pretty sparkly now. Tomorrow morning, we're packing up a cargo van and headed west for the delivery.