Monday, August 3, 2009

Oaks on the Road--Original Landscape Oil Painting

Today's study is a 5x7 inch oil based on the White Oak trees that populated my neighborhood as I grew up. Until I moved away from home and added some experience to my life I didn't appreciate these towering beauties. They are very slow growing and it takes about 20 years of growth for them to produce acorns. As a child we probably had 15 or 20 of them in our yard. My parents used to pay me five cents to fill a coffee can with acorns picked up from the grass so they wouldn't sprout in their manicured lawn. In the fall the trees produced mountains of leaves that we had to rake up and dispose of. It was an arduous task. The fallen leaves are not colorful like those of a maple trees, but a drab brown and take years to decompose. In our suburban neighborhood with a quest for green lawns, the trees were unpopular. My parents as well as many of our neighbors were removing trees all the time to reduce the amount of yard work they produced in their suburban landscape. Everytime my parents cut another one down, I felt some regret, but only as an adult, with so many of these giant beauties disappearing from the earth do I feel the greatest sadness. There are still some of these trees in local parks, but with their slow-growth habits and the continued encroachment of suburban sprawl, I worry that the giants I knew as a child will cease to exist. So I will paint them as one paints the portrait of a beloved relative. This study will serve as a study for a larger work I hope to produce. If I could paint one life size, I would be most happy.
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Lydia said...

Beautiful, Nancy. We have Oregon White Oaks around here, some preserved, thankfully, at The Oregon Garden. My favorites are still those that are alongside some of our country roads.

Nancy Merkle said...

They are indeed wonderful trees--so glad some are bring preserved!

alicia said...

Surely the trees are beautiful, and even more beautiful are the shades of the trees on the road.