I remember when my older sister was in high school and was required to memorize Joyce Kilmer’s poem:
“I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast…”
Yes, I’ve been painting trees again, and I’m pleased that I’m learning more little tricks to use, like taking a toothpick to scratch out trunks and how to use stippling to create the illusion of leaves. I’ve also started mixing my own greens now — along with a few golds and yellows — so I don’t have bright, unnatural colors ruining my landscapes.
I was especially pleased with this recent landscape, inspired by a video tutorial from Angela Fehr. I like her approach to watercolor and her teaching style seems to “click” with me.
I don’t think I could ever grow tired of painting trees, and I’m sure that my efforts will improve with each painting I do.
Kilmer’s poem ends with the gentle reminder that “poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.”
It’s true with art, too. When we paint nature, we’re not creating the beauty. We’re merely celebrating it and sharing it so that others can see it, too. In a sense, our attempts to paint trees and grass, rivers, mountains, lakes, and skies will always fall short, yet we are blessed by the inspiration they give.