40" x 30.5"
Brown's Creek, Southern Ontario, Canada
Red Maples (Acer rubrum) are comfortable growing in swampy conditions. They often line the lakeshore because they can survive much closer to the water than most other trees. In fall the lakes of the Northeast are ablaze with reflected color from these trees. I based this composition on pictures I took from a canoe. Initially, the lake was a mirror and the reflections were perfectly clear. But after jiggling around to get a good position from which to shoot, I created ripples in the water. Perhaps the disturbance in the water was a good thing for the composition because perfect reflections look unreal and distract from the actual trees. Besides, I enjoyed blending the colors in the uneven water.
There are a few white birch trees (Betula paperifera) in the scene which lend their white exclamation points to the composition. Birch leaves tend to turn yellow and ochre colors in the fall rather than red, which is fortunate for this composition because they relieve the solid red of the maples. Not that the maples were solid red. When I began painting them, I realized that I needed every shade of Red, Crimson, Orange, Rose, Permanent Magenta and Yellow Orange in my collection, to cover the range.
These maples live throughout northeastern North America. They are prolific in wet places from the Canadian provinces to the swamps of Florida. The birches are a bit more northerly. They stick to the cooler mountain tops as they reach down into the southern states and are pretty rare below the Carolinas.