I struggled with this painting. While there are struggles with most all paintings, this one almost ended in destruction. I kept putting it on my easel, taking it off my easel, turning it upside-down, turning it to the wall, asking it what it wanted...on and on for about two years. I would have small success (like the light around the bark on the bottom right) and then days where every brush stroke lead me deeper down the path of dread. The ferns were not part of the initial composition. Neither were the fireflies. They came later as the tree sat there lacking context; bare, alone, and uninteresting. Now I think they are two the best parts of this piece.
Knotted Maple with Fireflies - Detail
Then came an email from The Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League with a show prospectus "Flora, Fauna, and Figure". Maybe this piece was waiting for the right time to flee the studio. Regardless, it was the final push I needed to finish it. This photo (as usual) does not do it justice. Come out and see it in person. Opening night is this Friday, February 14th 2020 at the Red House Gallery in Black Mountain, NC. Can't make it? Grab a friend and go see some art that is local to you.