Friday, October 12, 2007

Sassafras leaf

sassafras leaf
10/11: Sassafras leaf, oil on canvas panel, 4x5 in.

My daughter loves to examine leaves on the ground. This one I took inside with me because it was in decent shape and the deep red was great. I'd seen this type of leaf a thousand times and not known what tree it comes from, so good thing we have a Trees Fandex Family Field Guide. Big kids would have fun with this book and its die-cut leaf shapes, which make it very easy to match our most common tree species (the annoying thing is that the pages catch on each other).

I wished I could capture all the subtle colors on this leaf, or at least make a translation that conveyed a fraction of the complexity that I saw. But I could go nuts trying to do that, as I felt I might when I went over the same area for the fourth time to get it "right." So, on the other hand, I wish I was able to simplify a leaf (the way I possibly could with a fruit) down to the point that all surface nuances were left totally to the imagination. I guess the idioms I use in translating could be better at times. Here the main challenge was balancing the dusty purple in the center, which I played down, and the seemingly hundreds of hot and cool reds throughout.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Another nice one, Dan. Although you wouldn't think it; a difficult and complex subject once you begin examining it closely. So many surface qualities!