Above is the second underpainting layer of the final tree which is shown down at the bottom below. I am happy enough with the final version, as it represents progress for me, but it took bravery to paint over that second layer of underpainting because the “fauve” in me loved it.
Many people recommended to me that I stop there, but I wanted to yield to the lesson of what an underpainting can do for the final layer of the painting, so I sacrificed it for a greater good. But I got several photographs of that second under layer before I painted over it!
In the top photo below you can see the tree that inspired the work to begin with. I want to stress that it was never my intention to try to reproduce a photo-realistic replica of that image. To my mind we have photography for that. What I was painting was more my emotional response to that tree, which represented to me both peace and a warming of my soul.
Somehow the message to me was that peace is not boring; this inconsequential tree is still incredible and important. The light when I painted it (which was not when I photographed it below) was still diffused, like the photos here, but more back lit. I changed the rocks in the foreground to further stabilize the painting. Do you like the underpainting or the final version better?