Kind of a dramatic title, but you’ll get the gist of it when you read the text and see the images.
Even though most people are impressed with the mountains and waterfalls of Yosemite, the greens are one of my favorite features of this place.


overhangingBranchFaveSpot 124

We discovered this spot one time on our way to leave the park.  Inviting to read a book or paint with a view of Bridal Veil Falls. The (then little) kids could play in the sand and in the water of the river.  It became a tradition to spend some time here, before we would leave for the cabin. This overhanging branch grew and grew with the years.










Overhanging Branch, Watercolor, 12 x 16 inch

Painting a tree may be simple, but somehow I often happen to choose the complicated ones!

It took me years before I thought I could tackle the enormous crown of leaves. Too complicated for an oil, so my first try was in watercolor.
When I started the sketch plein air,  I needed a strategy to avoid an overworked or boring rendition, and make this tree stand out!  The tree trunks and its shadows are brown, and the rocks below are brown – it  happens to be my least favorite color.   Hence I picked up on any hint of another color for the rocks, and exaggerated it for the painting.

The trunks and branches I did in different kinds of brown: yellow brown, auburn to Bordeau red. Okay, so far so good.

The sky and  background with the wet-in wet approach ( below, for you technical buffs) for the crown of leaves. Some leaves are detailed, others just indicated by color differences.

A tree can be painted many ways.
A painter does not copy, but gives a mood and story to the place.
I wanted the end result to be an airy, somewhat whimsical tree with many leaves to give lots of shade. That’s what this spot is to me.

** wet-in-wet approach: spray or wet paper with sponge.  When you see a glaze,  the paper will be almost dry, put in a background of several colors (the colors will seep over into each other). Wait a few seconds more to put some blurry leaves in. Some crisp leaves for the foreground when the paper is completely dry. Don’t forget before this process to tape the edges of your paper:)









How the sky above our house (back then)  looked like during the day

It had been hot in the summer of 2008. The Fall was even hotter and the year of the fires in California (kind of symbolic for that year, eh?). At one point there were 15 large fires burning.
Even though the closest one was an hour away, ashes from the fire, carried by the wind  lay on the driveway on the car, on the lawn and everything that was outside – an eerie sight. Even though there were still patches with blue with clouds, the sky looked just ominous. I took my exercise walk in another city (40 min. away) for a week, because as soon as I came outside, I began to cough (though I have no allergies!) from all the ashes in the air.










 Tiger Lilly. Oil, 24 x 24 inch, St Germain

No wonder I choose back then to paint the orange tiger lily .
This lily says I AM fire.
I exude fire.
Waves of flames are around me
Fire is my breath, my life
my passion destroys everything
that has not gone through fire before

when you live around me
you burn too, like I do








Such devastation after a fire, effecting on only the landscape, but also animals and humans. It takes a while before the animals come back.



Usually  one post per week with all the memes -this week is DIFFERENT – from Thursday on also look on the post KAMPEN:) if you can’t find the meme you’re coming from  (I don’t know if wordpress automatically does a hyperlink)





Thanks to All the hosts
Blue Monday  Travel Photo  Mandarin Orange  *
Our World  Blo-Ma  Nature Notes  *
ABC-Wed. – J *  Outdoor Wed *
Little Things Up Down View  Share the Joy  * Alphabe – R  *
* Orange TGIF  Saturday Critters  *


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    writer for your blog. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good
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  2. Nice paintings! Thank you for the descriptions of your process with the watercolor… My class is working on painting trees and this is a fine example! I like how you have given it your special touch and memories


  3. Your photo of the sun is awesome. I can’t imagine how awful it must be living so close to the fires. I love the photo of the deer. People don’t stop to think about our wildlife and how these fires are hurting them.

    Your painting of the tiger lily is wonderful. I have lots of these beauties in my yard. Thank you so much for sharing.


  4. we went to yosemite in may and saw the result of last year’s fire, it was devastating to see, one side of the road is all green while the other was burnt to a crisp. our friend owns a cabin in groveland and we stayed there for a night and they were ones who were asked to be ready to leave, the fire came very close to them.

    Worth a Thousand Words


  5. Your paintings are lovely.. The lily is gorgeous and the deer is cute.. It is sad about the fires, it is the opposite here, we had a cool, wet summer.. I hope we do not have a bad winter next. Your post is lovely, thanks for sharing. Have a happy new week!


  6. I enjoyed your painting, and explanation of techniques, it super-memorializes the scene, kind of tying it in with your special feelings and memories. I remember fires during a Santa Ana in San Diego, the temperature around 100ºF and smoke in the air, lurid glow like in your photo. We went to the beach to try to escape the heat and smoke and there was a trail of smoke high in the air that came down to the ocean when the hot air hit the colder air. There are fires right now up here, lots of homes have been lost in fires recently. So sad, and scary. I like your Tiger Lily painting and poetry.


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