30" x 24"
One of my Canadian friends looked at this painting and shook his head. He said it looks like a very cold day. In fact, it was cold, about 20 below zero on the afternoon that I skied past this White Oak with a painting in mind. I flipped off the flap on my gloves that have the ends of their fingers cut off so that I could work my camera with bare fingers. After taking the pictures, I covered my fingers again with the flap that is attached to the glove, jammed the gloved hand back into the ski pole strap and got moving very quickly to warm up.
Now when I look at the painting I wonder how my friend guessed that it was so cold. It could be the balls of snow caught in the dogwood shrubs at the bottom of the painting or the lining of snow on all the fine twigs. A warm afternoon sun, even below freezing, would have melted these thin layers of snow. Then there are the purple and blue tones which seem to be stronger on a cold day. Finally, the sun looks like a dull light bulb, in the sky. Somehow it doesn’t look hot.
White Oaks that grow in an open area like this one acquire gracefully twisting, wide spreading branches. Their branches curve more gently than those of the red Oaks. The latter are more angular. And when the sun shone through thousands of twigs it creates a kind of spider’s web effect because only the twigs at certain angles to the sun will glisten. I painted the sun right into the picture, behind the tree, its refracted light cutting into the image of the tree.
The White Oak (Quercus alba) is common to the broadleaf forests of Southern Ontario, Quebec and the eastern states west of the Mississippi. This one lives in Gatineau Park in Quebec.