Ed Cahill, Plein Air Painting

“Go-to” Subject: The Redbud

Redbud Afternoon 12″ 12″ oil on linen, $350

Nothing like going to the well once again for what you know works. I believe it’s a good idea to reinforce your strengths. Over the years I’ve developed techniques that work for me and I try to use them again and again. I also have my “go-to” subjects and redbud trees in bloom fit into that category. The intense purple against the bright Spring green has a real wow factor that is hard to dislike.

Spring at the Farm
Spring at the Farm

This Saturday I wandered over to McFarlane Parkark, another go-to, and spent the afternoon amidst the early Spring growth. In truth, the color is a bit early here but bright days without work to do are scarce so I was over with my viewfinder walking the paths of this delightful place looking for opportunities. Last year at about this time I was fortunate to catch a redbud in full bloom. When they have a bit of room around them they can get like a bright brush of crazy color and the painting was one of my more successful. This time the garden club that maintains the grounds decided to prune this purple monster back a bit so it was not as showy. But there were several others—a bit stringy like they get in the undergrowth and I stacked them up with the stables in between for this square composition.  Almost the same view as last year, just a bit closer in. The tree is backlit a and the shadows and branches reach out to the viewer. I like this approach with flowers, it tends to give you more of the feeling of being there —a trick almost. It wraps you in the color and emotion of the view.

Sunday was glorious too—but I had a date at the car show with my little grandsons, and that, apposed to a blooming tree only happens rarely. I will, of course, be sneaking back to the park as much as I can as the season unfolds.

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