– Bob Bahr reporting, Editor PleinAir Today –
People enter competitions for many reasons. Certainly, everyone enters them wanting to win. So what goes into a winning painting? This ongoing series of articles explores the stories behind award-winning paintings. This week: Suzie Baker’s piece that was recently honored at the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational in Atlanta.
Lead Image: “Story Tree,” by Suzie Baker, 2016, oil, 30 x 15 in. Winner of the Renoir Best Figure in Landscape award at the 2016 Olmsted Plein Air Invitational. Photo by Laurie Sermos for Olmsted Plein Air
Baker’s oil painting “Story Tree” won the Renoir Best Figure in Landscape award at the 2016 Olmsted Plein Air Invitational at the end of April. We asked Baker to tell us how the picture came about.
“The painting is 30” x 15”, and the size represents a stretch for me,” explains Baker. “I’m working at painting larger in the field while maintaining the quality of the finished product, which, in the end, is all that really matters. As far as the subject matter goes, this painting found me. I arrived a day early for the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational and scouted out the Liner Park area. The South is known for its massive, ancient oak trees, and this tree was exceptionally monumental.
“In order to appreciate the sheer scale of the oak, I included two grandchildren of my host who attended school directly across from the tree. Though I found the tree/idea before the event started, I couldn’t execute the painting until my free day on Friday. I was sweating it because our top three paintings were due Friday by 7 p.m. I started by blocking in and toning the canvas, then painting in the bulk of the tree before my models arrived. Then when the girls got there after school, I posed them and quickly painted them in place. They had fun, and so did I.”