I came across this lovely sensitive drawing of a tree by Keith Vaughan.
I was struck by its simplicity, given the time I have taken trying to capture the “essence” of a tree. This is a beautiful tonal sketch which evokes more atmosphere than detail. Detail is hinted at by abstract lines. It captures the mood through addition of shadows and creation of depth by bringing the wall to the fore. I can almost feel the sun on my shoulders as I walk past.
Along the similar theme there is even less detail in the sketch below, but the viewer can see clearly the roots protruding below the fallen tree-trunk. Background trees are just hinted at with a few lines suggesting branches. There is space in this sketch- no fear of not filling the page. Again this reminds me that you don’t need a lot of detail to create a sense of a subject.
Conversely, in Ellen Altfest’s painting of The Tree (2001) (oil on canvas 152.4 x 114.3 cm) a fine detailed approach is used to create an image where the viewer almost feels they can reach out and feel the texture of the trunk.
Ellen Altfest is a realist painter based in New York. She paints still lifes and male figures from life in painstaking detail and her work is noted for its precision and accuracy.
Gray Tree is an oil painting by Piet Mondrian (1912) on canvas on a board 78.5 × 107.5 cm. It is presently exhibited at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague. Painted as Mondrian began to experiment with Cubism: its foreground and background elements seem to intermingle, and the palette is very restricted. The picture focuses as much on the negative space between and around the branches as on the tree itself.