Sunday, April 12, 2009

Live Oak

Lately I’ve had a few too many irons in the fire, and haven’t given myself permission to draw or paint much. After receiving an invitation to join Kate’s new nature blog, a part of me decided that posting some older work was quite acceptable. Another part of me took myself outside and just started to paint! So today I hope you enjoy sharing this oak with me.

Here in southwest Florida our spring is subtle but still quite tangible. As I was painting this upper branch, a red-headed woodpecker flitted in the canopy as a nearby gray squirrel scolded me and skittered in the dry leaf litter below. Blue jays performed their little hopping dance; warblers and mockingbirds sang their hearts out. The sun danced through the oak leaves, weaving a carpet of dappled shade. It’s warm, but breezy and dry.

I found a few remnants of acorns to draw; it was a minor crop this year compared to the year before. New leaves are vibrantly green, turning to olive as they mature; they are leathery and tough, designed to survive our spring droughts and the intense summer sun. The waxy upper surface and the curled-under leaf margins help this massive tree conserve water. The delightfully corrugated bark is a lovely combination of cool browns and grays, supporting ferns, lichens, mosses, and air plants.

What a wonderful reconnection for me! Thanks, Kate, for the invitation and the inspiration!

~ Elizabeth


  1. Thank you, Elizabeth! I feel as if I understand the ecosystem of your area a bit better, and I'm glad you were inspired to get out there--though as one of your voices said, older work would have been quite acceptable too!

  2. I spent 2 years in the south and have visited frequently and the live oaks never fail to catch my eye. It's so much fun to compare them to the ones in my area. Lovely illustrations and nice to read the information, too!


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