During an Oil Painters of America Paint-Out near Boerne, Texas, Maren Smith Phillips saw a sight she’d admired during several other stops in the area — a fine specimen of a tree in the back parking lot of a Motel 6. This time, she captured it.

“The weather was wet and gloomy, but we did manage to get some breaks of sun throughout each day,” says Phillips. “I and another artist were staying at the Motel 6 — price was certainly right — and I knew this tree well from previous stays. I had always wanted to paint it, but hadn’t had the time. When the sun broke, I just walked out to the back to see the tree … and RAN back to my van for my paint gear. I set up in record time and dashed out this little gem. I was getting some great light from the west and the shadows stayed crisp for a long time! Because the building was so white, the colors just simmered!”

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