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Pond Cypress with Streaking Light

36 x 24 in | 91.4 x 61 cm

The unusual lighting effect in this painting results from a collision of two sources of light.  Reflections from the trees cross and melt into streaking sunlight.  There is even a third lighting effect.  If you look into the shadowed areas of the water you can see twigs at the bottom.  Painting this was enjoyable but very challenging.

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The trees are Pond Cypress (Taxodium ascendens), which are smaller than their cousins, the giant Bald Cypresses (Taxodium distichum).  Bald Cypress Trees are a highly popular subject of photographers, probably because of their impressive size.  But the Pond Cypress, while less impressive singly, radiate a playful spirit in a forest because their trunks lean in every direction and they display subtle differences in color and texture. Pond Cypress is native to the southeastern coastal plain from North Carolina to Louisiana in the United States.  It occurs in still, black water rivers, ponds and swamps.

The large-leaved aroids in the foreground form a natural frame for the scene, pushing the viewer’s gaze toward the middle of the painting.  They are Alligator Flag (Thalia geniculata), a name given by early hunters who noted that the waving of the tall flower stalks may indicate a moving alligator below, hidden by the leaves.

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