In May of this year I did a month long study of trees. One every day. It was called a "Chunking" Study and was a part of artist Bryan Mark Taylor's Master's Mind project. I met Bryan in April at the Plein Air Convention, where he gave a presentation on the study and the benefits of Chunking. I have admired Bryan's work for the last couple of years and was excited by the prospect of working on my painting this way. The thought behind "chunking" is that you can improve much more rapidly if you break painting down into smaller chunks and repeat that chunk daily over a certain period of time. In this case a month. I also had a to have a sponsor that I had to answer to on a daily basis. To keep me on task :) My good friend artist Kathy Collins did that job for me.
I picked trees for my "chunk". I had to copy a masterpiece that I wished to learn from and then paint a plein air study of a tree once a day for four weeks. The master I chose was Levitan. The work was "the oak". Below you see the original on the left and my copy on the right.
Doing a copy is a lot tougher than I thought! After that I did 28 plein air studies of trees over the next month and sent them to Bryan for his thoughts and input on what to work on. It was enlightening to say the least. I learned so much and even though my trees still aren't how I see them in my mind, they are miles better than they were. And I don't dread them or shy away from them in the landscape anymore either. I would definitely recommend the experience.
Here is today's study. Another little taste of fall color on a very rainy morning.
12" x 6" oil on panel