I took the shot in Cathedral Grove this fall thanks to my cousins, Shelley and Jack, both brilliant photographers. When my battery failed, Shelley handed me a wonderful camera to use. It felt like winning the lottery. The gigantic Douglas firs and Sitka spruce towered over us but ironically it was at ground level where I found the most arresting beauty. This ancient, bark gleaming in deep jewel tones, has robed herself in hanging mosses. Whether or not the tangle of roots belongs to her, their sinuous blue grace enhances and counterpoints the gorgeous centenarian, who might easily pre-date Columbus.
It took an entire day but the grisaille, which was a real stinker to sort out, was finished yesterday. Now I am anxiously waiting for it to dry so I can start glazing on the transparent primaries.
Scale remains the main problem. While the maple leaves and the trunk might pass for sugar maple, in fact, those leaves have been dropped by another true Pacific rainforest giant - acer macrophyllum — big-leaf maple, whose leaves can reach 12” across. Turning bright yellow in fall, they punctuate the multitude of greens in the landscape. I suppose I could insert five Skye terriers end to end to convey the enormity of this tree, but, as always, I'm open to a better suggestion!