I worship Gustav Klimt. He’s one of my top three favorite artists. While I love his entire oeuvre, particularly his portraits, I find myself strangely infatuated with his rare paintings of poplar trees. I love how he represents the form of the tree with an imposing and towering column composed of a melange of colors. It looks like the tree is created from a swarm of tightly packed, multi-colored bees. It feels alive.
I took the train from Prague to Vienna and found myself smiling when I passed poplars standing proudly in the Austrian countryside. I thought of Klimt. Upon arriving in Vienna, I felt fortunate to see one of his poplar paintings in person. I was struck by the size of the painting -- it was smaller than I had anticipated -- which made Klimt’s ability to make the tree seem so ominous even more impressive.
Gustav Klimt. The Large Poplar II (1904)
In Temecula, I encountered Italian cypress trees planted along a winery’s winding driveway.
The sight of the trees made me happy. I found them visually compelling -- my view most likely influenced by how Klimt treated similar tall skinny trees in his paintings. And now I had discovered a local version.
For fun, I did a sketch of an Italian cypress using ball point pen.