Little Me With the Big Trees

I call this painting “Little Me.” It is consistent with my redwood forest series, except for one special detail: the addition of a human form, something that I have purposely left out until this point.

I have been wanting to do this for a while–seeing visions in my mind’s eye of little silhouetted people walking on the forest floor underneath giant sequoias. I think one thing that’s been stopping me is the challenge of depicting these trees in accurate scale to people. How to show the sheer enormity of the trees without completely losing the person? I do want the person to be a focal point.

My solution was to make the person a bit larger than she would be in real life. If I were to paint it to scale, (in real life, some of these trees are 300′ tall!) the little person would be about a third of the size that I’ve actually painted her. Here, she is central to the story but still tiny in the towering forest.

Little Me. 40" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee
Little Me. 40″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

Tiny, yes, but standing straight, her head lifted and her hair trailing behind her, mid-stride.

I love how she was created with a few mere brush strokes–there is no detail. Her form is only hinted at, a gesture, a snapshot, a blur. Yet she has such presence as she interacts with her surroundings. You can see her soaking up her environment, the sun on her face, the wonderful views of the forest laid out before her as she moves through it.

Detail: Little Me. 40" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee
Detail: Little Me. 40″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

As I was painting this I was thinking about the immediacy of life. Our time here is fleeting, but while we are here on Earth, while we are alive, the experience of being is so intensely colorful and real. This tiny woman is feeling the immediacy. She is saying, “Thank you for this moment. I am alive. Right now.” Of course it’s easy to feel that way when you are in the giant sequoia forest! To feel alive like that in the midst of the everyday, in the mundane, through pain and boredom, can be a challenge.

The power of art, demonstrated: I hope you can feel it now!

The light from above is a diffused gold-green glow down on the forest floor, but up high in the treetops you can see the sunbeams shining down.

Detail: Little Me. 40" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee
Detail: Little Me. 40″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

The painting continues around the edges.

Detail: Little Me. 40" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee
Detail: Little Me. 40″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

At 40″ x 30″, this painting fills the room with a mood of bright, singing energy.

Oil painting displayed in a room: Little Me. 40" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee
Oil painting displayed in a room: Little Me. 40″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

The variation of warm colors in the tree trunks–chocolate brown, brick red, and gold–play off the pale yellow background light and the sage green leaves.

Oil painting displayed in a room: Little Me. 40" x 30", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee
Oil painting displayed in a room: Little Me. 40″ x 30″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

 

Leave a Reply

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