Adam Houston

American Impressionist Oil Painter

Trees at Pooles Mill

Finally done – another 100 in the books. It seemed like I had to go back to the trees one more time and as it worked out they are closing out the year. I think I learned more from painting those stupid trees than anything else this year and am glad I got to do a big one of them. At 18″ x 24″ this is one of the largest things I painted all year and it was a completely different process.

This was a fun year and I think I made more progress in 2011 vs. 2010 even though the work may not have been as finished or as varied. I’m starting to learn how to paint and that was what this was all supposed to be about.


Alright… at long last, the final tree painting. I had done that whole run where the sky was pink or yellow and the background trees were really blue and wanted to try one last one that was different. I decided to go back to more of the greens and close on that. I really love this one and wish I had paid more attention to the dirt area. Otherwise it’s exactly what I wanted to paint. It only took doing it 18 times…

I’ll start with something new on Monday. Promise.

Trees XVII

At this point what is there left to say about these trees? I am tired of them, you are probably tired of them. I think my dog is tired of them. Still learning but I am ready to move on.

Trees XVI

Winding down on the trees finally. Have a few more to go but I am starting to get to the end of the line here in terms of what I can learn from these guys. Overall I was really happy with this one. I love the background trees and doing the was just a revelation for me. I’ve seen stuff like that in books forever but to really bear down and work on the atmosphere was so fun. The fore-ground trees are so-so but these are so much better than the first few.

Trees XV

I could not leave the blue thing alone. It felt like maybe what was wrong with 149 was that EVERYTHING was blue and that if I dialed it back that maybe it would work. And it sort-of works but it not what I have in my head. There are a lot of good elements in this one and a lot of weird elements. But that is what this whole process is about.

Trees XIV

Well I am finally to No. 50 for the year. That took long enough. There are only 53 days left in the year (I think) but I feel pretty good about hitting the goal. That may seem crazy when it’s taken this long to get to 50 but these trees have taught me a lot about how to approach and then hit a subject. We’ll see…

So, with this one – I feel pretty good about it. The colors feel right – maybe a little too pink but overall this is what I was wanting. The tops of the trees are not really singing but it’s close. Getting better at least.

Trees XIII

No. 149 is obviously a little weird because the trees are blue. For some reason I got to thinking that maybe I had it all wrong and that the trees should not be brown or dark. I literally woke up one morning thinking about how the trees should be blue. But alas, I don’t think it really works. Theoretically it could work and could be awesome but the trees should be a little further back. These guys are too close to be that blue.

I think this was the first one too where I painted the background first. So all the trees in the background were painted, I let it dry and then I went back over it.

Trees XII

Here is the twelfth version of the trees – No. 148. I actually like this one quite a bit and much more than the last few. I was trying for a very high key but also ochre background with the far trees and this time it seemed to work.

Trees XI

This one feels very similar to 145 in the tones. Nothing remarkably different. I did add back in the branches in the middle of the tree and am still working out how to paint these. Happy Halloween!

Trees X

This was an experiment and while it may look like a joke it was really helpful. I had done nine of these when I did this one but it was not until I painted this that I really understood the basic value structure of the trees. With the details abstracted it you are able to see the underlying light and how the overall shapes work. Nothing I’m going to hang on the wall but very cool to try out.