Forest Cathedral

My latest painting, the newest addition to my Looking Up series:

Forest Cathedral

40″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas

Forest Cathedral: Painting by Cedar Lee

For me, this painting gives me a feeling of joy and peacefulness, of being a small part of something tremendously beautiful, and all being right in the world.

It’s the feeling I get when I’m hiking with family, friends, or dogs on a hot summer day, and the light of the forest floats down through the trees.  The fresh smells of plants and earth fill the clean air.  I can hear birdsong, my own feet snapping twigs, and small animals rustling leaves on the ground.

I’ve used creative license and stretched the majestic tree trunks to impossible heights for maximum splendor.  In that respect, I feel this painting is better than reality–it exaggerates the visual, but still brings out the feeling and essence of the reality.

What do you see in this painting?  How does it make you feel?  Does it conjure memories for you?

If you have 4 minutes, you can watch the painting process here:

I think a lot of the impact of this painting comes from the dramatic angles of the trees zooming up into the sky.  It was important to define these angles at the beginning.

Forest Cathedral: Detail

When the sun is directly behind a tree, the edges of the tree become softened and distorted by the blinding white back light.  I’ve observed this effect many times while while walking in the woods on a bright day (trying not to look directly into the sun, of course.)  It’s just so glowy and beautiful–I love it.

Forest Cathedral: Detail

You can get a sense of the large scale of the painting by the size of my signature in the bottom right corner.

Forest Cathedral: Detail

The circle of sky where all the tops of the trees converge is like a window to heaven.  If I could fly, I’d fly straight up into it.

Forest Cathedral: Detail

When you are close enough to the painting to see the individual brushstrokes, you’ll notice that on a basic level there is a lot of abstraction going on–colors blending into other colors loosely and freely.

Forest Cathedral: Detail

All these little pieces of paint smudging into each other work together to create the larger image.

Forest Cathedral: Detail

Here’s what this art looks like in a room:

Forest Cathedral displayed in a room

6 thoughts on “Forest Cathedral”

  1. I love your new painting! The video was great also. Perfect music for a speedy session. This painting reminded me of an actual place my sister use to live. It was a small mountain community surrounded by redwoods. About a half mile walk from her home was a circle of redwood trees that the locals called “The Church”. It was a perfect place for gatherings. Standing in the center of it was exactly like your painting!!!

  2. Beautiful work Cedar.. Love the POV looking straight up.. it’s the last thing I would see before walking right into another tree! I do it all the time, too busy looking around and not on where I’m going.. Consequently I bump my head a lot, fall down, trip over… It’s true, even though you exaggerate the height, it feels real, it’s what we feel in tall forests!

  3. Again, absolutely beautiful. Your work is truly inspiring. I wish I could figure out how to get such amazing results out of oil paint. So for now, I make my attempt in acrylic. Namaste.

  4. Kathleen, that sounds like a beautiful place!

    Thank you Wayne, Georgia, & JP!

    Chrissi, thanks! I used to only work in acrylics, and I wanted to do more with oils but it took me forever to work up the confidence to try. Then I gradually started using oils more and more. At first I hated them, but I stuck with it and now I really like them. This past year I’ve used mostly oils. It’s funny, people who started out as oil painters are intimidated by acrylics & vice versa. Both have their challenges and both take time to get used to and even more time to get good at.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top