Flying High

Here in Oregon, the leaves have all turned brilliant colors and are accumulating in enormous piles in the streets. (This is good news for my garden, as I’ve been collecting them to make leaf compost.)

It’s also inspired me to create this autumn-themed artwork: Flying High!

Flying High. 24" x 18", Oil on Canvas, © Cedar Lee 2015
Flying High. 24″ x 18″, Oil on Canvas, © Cedar Lee 2015

As a jumping-off point for this piece, I looked at stock photos of fall trees. Once I got the basic composition onto the canvas, I had fun making up the details–the nuances of yellow and red blending into varied tones of orange, the feathery hints of tiny faraway leaves at the periphery of the treetops, and the flock of birds in flight.

Flying High. 24" x 18", Oil on Canvas, © Cedar Lee 2015
Flying High. 24″ x 18″, Oil on Canvas, © Cedar Lee 2015

It’s unclear whether the birds are very small or just very high up in the air. I say both! I imagine them as some kind of small birds that travel in flocks (starlings maybe?) congregating at the very tops of these tall trees, flitting around rapidly up there in the cold air of a bright sunny fall day.

I love the one bird towards the top left, which looks to me like it’s flying straight up into the sun.

Flying High detail2

I want to wish my U.S. friends a Happy Thanksgiving next week.

In the wake of worldwide terrorism and horrifying news of war, I have been feeling out of sorts and low lately–these are the times when it’s all the more important to feel and express gratitude, to shift our thoughts towards positive and productive action.

I hope this painting makes you feel a moment of peace. I’m thankful for so many things, including the never-ending inspiration that trees continue to give me, even after years and years of painting trees!

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