Preparatory Sketch of Louisiana Oak Tree
2001 by George Rodrigue
Acrylic on linen
In this loose sketch, painted during a lecture before a Houston, Texas audience on March 1, 2001, Rodrigue explains the simple elements that are the basis for his painting. Using one of his typical landscape compositions, he emphasizes three components, each of equal importance on his canvas: tree, background, and foreground. He used these elements to create infinite arrangements of shapes. This was the reason, he explained, that his paintings, even as he repeated the same subjects hundreds of times, remained varied and interesting to the eye.
Note: The number “3”, which should indicate the foreground, is trapped instead inside the oak. After returning to his easel, Rodrigue extended the trunk of the tree so that it better filled the space, creating a new bottom line to the oak’s shape, and covering part of the original foreground space.