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Friday, April 5, 2013

Cezanne and Reconsidering Pine Trees


I have lived in the South for most of my life and appreciate the rich variety of trees in this part of the country.  The live oak is grand and sprawling.  The magnolia tree is rich with its glossy deep green leaves and velvety white blooms with that intoxicating smell.  Even the invasive Chinese tallow is beautiful in fall colors of gold and red.  And then there is the pine tree.

I have had no love for the pine tree (whatever the variety) ever since Hurricane Ivan when many of the tall pines in our yard became pointy missiles set on wrecking havoc.  I have issues with the needles that fall everywhere blanketing the area.  There is sap that ruins the paint job on my car if I leave it parked too long under the pines.  The pine cones are everywhere.  Pollen from the pines covers everything with greenish-yellow dust.  So goes my gripe with pines.

One day while I was looking through a book of Cezanne's landscapes I was stunned by his image of a big pine tree.  I did not know that pines grew in France.  The painting dazzled me with the sheer grandeur of the solitary pine. 

Paul Cezanne, "Pine Tree Near Aix", 1890
Courtesy of Museum Syndicate

Suddenly I was enchanted with our pine trees.  I watched the evening sunlight turn their bark gold.  I listened to the wind singing in the branches.  I drew the trees and the cones.  I watched the birds and squirrels moving high above the ground.  I copied Cezanne's painting.  I painted my own.  I am hooked.  It just goes to show you that wisdom frequently comes slowly and in surprising ways.

Mona Vivar, "Horned Owl", 2013, Acrylic on Canvas, 11 inches by 14 inches
Now on Ebay

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