Friday, November 26, 2010

Sunshine after Dusk

Darkness falls early in November, and I find myself in the woods after sunset, when the colours are leeched from the land, and all is shades of grey, followed by formless darkness.
Looking up, just after sundown, I see gold in the tree tops. I'm mystified and mesmerized. How does the sun, which has dipped below the horizon reach the tops of the trees?
Looking up, I invent theories of reflection and refraction, sundogs and high altitude ice particles, anything to explain the strange phenomena of sunlight shining high in the trees after sundown. The moon is up, cold and white. Could it be moonlight?
I finish my walk, in darkness. Both the ordinary kind and the knowledge kind, my question remains unanswered.
On the weekend, I recall the tamaracks that grow in the forest. They flourish in a plantation in the North Tract, York Regional Forest. I don't often walk the North Tract; it is a relatively 'new' forest, and too much of it covered by obvious row-planted trees. It has life, but lacks aesthetics, but this is the place to go if you wish to see the autumn glory of the tamarack.  I thought of it a little late, spending all October visiting Uxbridge's Glen Major Tract and enjoying the colours of the mixed maple woodlands. It's late in the season and it may be too late, but suddenly it all seems very urgent.
I drag my husband along. He his willing to the adventure, but time is limited, as he has tickets for the evening. I promise him a direct route through the woods, as I know exactly where that stand of tamarack lies.  And while this is true, I quickly realize that I don't know the path. I make choices that begin in the right direction and veer repeatedly away from the destination. This happens with each path I take, and while there are plenty of side trails leading away from my destination, none seem willing to take me there. I realize the origin of the enchanted forest archetype, and the living trees that move and reshape the trails to entangle visitors and leave them lost and wandering forever.
Well, it's not quite that bad, afterall, I am here, returned to write this post. Eventually, I found a trail the cut in the right direction, and quickly veered away again, and another trail, the cut in the right direction and then meandered dog style in a convoluted serpentine that eventually led us directly beneath a stately tamarack, still brilliant shining gold.
Looking up, my husband (not known for poetic flights of fancy) said, "It's just like sunshine". Looking up I thought so too.

The next time I walked in the woods after dusk, I looked up and saw the golden tops of trees shining amidst the gloom and finally made the connection.  The 'sunlight' I perceived in the tree tops was nothing more nor less then the autumn gold of the tamaracks still gleaming in the dusk.

I haven't been able to get the tamaracks out of my mind since, and so far am working on my third painting of tamaracks.

And as a brief synopsys of our adventure, we didn't get out of the woods quite on time, had hustle, really hustle back to the car, but my husband was so thrilled the phenomenon of the tamaracks that he didn't mind at all.

Watercolours are 9"x12"; I have a new batch of masking frisket, and have put it to good use. I don't think I want to be without it again.


Chrissy said...

I have some images very similar from last week where it was a grey murky overcast day and somehow the trees seemed to glow. Unlike you however, I have done nothing with the images. Nice work, a great depiction..I use masking fluid but, I still struggle getting it where I want it.
the best method has been a crappy paintbrush covered in soap....but even then it clogs up!

Quiltbug said...

This is the first year that I have really noticed the display of the tamarack trees. I've seen them before but this year they seemed to draw my attention more. With all of the other trees naked, they stood out with such brilliance.
I had never heard of masking frisket but have just watched a tutorial online so now I'm 'in the know' about your technique.

kaslkaos said...

Chrissy, I have one crappy skinny brush for the frisket with about 12 hairs, it's all gummy and stiff, but I manage, and yes, it does get gummed up so it's work fast, fast, fast. I dread the day this brush dies.
So I feel for you seems to be the nature of the beast. BTW, fresh supply works better than an old bottle (one of which I had to toss). That's a tip.
Quiltbug, I didn't realize it was a 'good year'. Great observation, perhaps it's that the leaves of the other trees dropped early?
I'm thinking I should have a peak at that tutorial. I'm pretty much self-taught with this.

Michelle (artscapes) said...

Your first painting just glows with light. I love Fall tamaracks too...

vijay said...

I just saw your paintings, those are good..
But what i felt is you can do much better than this..
Because some of your arts are so amazing which shows your uniqueness...
keep doing your best,
All the best...

from Nagarhole


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