Medium: Oil, Image Size: 22″h x 30″w, 2011, Revised 2012.
This oil painting depicts the transition from autumn to winter in the foothills of Siskiyou County, California. The day I saw this scene the White Oak trees were still clad in gold and orange leaves, but the previous night it lightly snowed. The rich blue hues of the shadows contrasted so beautifully with the oranges and yellows of the leaves. The bits of snow clinging to leaves and branches added an even better composite of colors and shapes making this painting an incredibly rich landscape.
As for the inspiration of the piece it was from a wild, secluded area I used to hike to on a frequent basis because it was near my home. At that time, I lived on Black Mountain in northern Siskiyou County of northern California which is about eight miles south of the Oregon border. This spot, where the tree grew, I could look to the north to see the mountains of the Soda Mountain National Monument in Oregon. The elevation is about 3,000 ft. so it does get some snow, though not much, and it is often wet and clumpy which made for the perfect circumstance for the painting because the snow clung to the leaves of the trees rather than falling to the ground.
Though I often hiked past this tree throughout the different seasons and often admired the tree for its dynamic shape, this particular day that I saw the tree I was stunned by its shape and colors as it contrasted against the snow. The back-lit colors of the autumn-colored leaves not only contrasted with the white snow and the blue shadows, but they were also complimentary. It was the perfect time of day, the perfect place, and the perfect season.