Forest Perspective

Here is “Forest Perspective,” 36″ x 12″.

It’s been shipped off to a client in Utah who commissioned this piece to be given as a Christmas gift to his wife, and I can finally share it now that Christmas has passed!

Forest Perspective. 36″ x 12″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2020 Cedar Lee

The client wanted a vertical painting of these specific dimensions, inspired by the giant sequoias in Henry Cowell State Park near Santa Cruz, CA.

He liked the colors and mood in my previous paintings Liberty and Three Giants, and he had his own reference photo he wanted me to use for inspiration as well:

Cedar Lee client reference photo: Henry Cowell State Park

I was inspired by the two tall trees in the center of his photo, and how the space between them was filled with light, with the smaller trees in the background being bathed in golden sunlight.

Here’s a time lapse art demo showing my painting process:

Cedar Lee painting “Forest Perspective”

I brought some of the shapes of these trees into the painting, especially in the way their branches fanned out, while creating a new image true to the artistic style and vibrant colors I had in mind.

Detail: Forest Perspective. 36″ x 12″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2020 Cedar Lee

In the painting, I elongated the two tall trees to fill the 3-foot tall vertical format of the canvas. I added in my trademark brilliant sun, bursting around the edge of the massive redwood tree, the light filling the space in the center.

Detail: Forest Perspective. 36″ x 12″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2020 Cedar Lee

In the background, bright sunlight fills all the negative spaces between the trees and branches.

Detail: Forest Perspective. 36″ x 12″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2020 Cedar Lee

This quality of light continues into the details of the foreground, where the leaves and brambles on the forest floor are glowing in the sunshine. Vibrant yellow and magenta add to the joyful, energetic feeling of the painting.

Detail: Forest Perspective. 36″ x 12″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2020 Cedar Lee

You an see by the work-in-progress at an early stage, shown here, that my goal was to make a painting that felt lit from within. I established that glowing quality of sunlight from the start, and carried it through the whole painting process.

Work in Progress: Forest Perspective. 36″ x 12″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2020 Cedar Lee

I did much of the painting with a palette knife to achieve a very thick surface texture in the paint. I used molding paste in the underpainting to make the texture particularly thick on the two large tree trunks.

Detail: Work in Progress, early stages: Forest Perspective. 36″ x 12″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2020 Cedar Lee
Detail: Work in Progress, early stages: Forest Perspective. 36″ x 12″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2020 Cedar Lee

This painting of the joyful yellow sun filling all the space in the forest, between enormous trees that tower over our heads, is just the thing to bring a sunny feeling into a dark winter.

Forest Perspective. 36″ x 12″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2020 Cedar Lee

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