"The Middleton Oak" and "Angel Oak" - Live Oak Trees in Art and Science

"Angel Oak"
Charcoal on craft paper
Dimensions: 36"x 48"

This charcoal drawing is a study for an oil painting I was inspired to do awhile back of the "Angel Oak" after spending a night in a tent under it's ancient spreading canopy.

The experience left me with lasting impressions:
The beauty of stars seen through massive limbs and a leafy canopy swaying with Spanish moss.
The ethereal effect of shafts of early morning light piercing through branches like light streaming into a cathedral. The cool freshness of the air under the tree. This massive live oak tree has inspired all who have seen it through it's long life. Click here to see plein air painters painting at Angel Oak.

To see my painting of rural farmland near Angel Oak and recent (6/25/09) information about the ongoing development of the land around the Angel Oak, click this link.

For a charcoal/conte drawing of Angel Oak from a different viewpoint, Click here or in the "Live Oak " Art Category with a link here.

Live Oak trees are in the news here due to the recent breaking of massive limbs off the Middleton Oak at Middleton Place. Efforts to stabilize the Middleton Oak are providing scientists a unique opportunity to study the tree's age and climatic history. Artists and craftsmen have been asked to submit creative uses for the wood from the broken limbs to Pat Kennedy at pkennedy@middletonplace.org or to the Middleton Oak Project, 4300 Ashley River Road, Charleston SC 29414.

"Marsh Breeze" An Etching Of Live Oaks by Charleston Artist Katherine M Schneider

" Marsh Breeze"
Zinc plate etching
Image size: 4.5" x 6"
Paper size : 8.75" x 10"
Price: $50.00

To view all Live Oak artwork, click here.
The etching process used to create "Marsh Breeze" begins with a zinc metal plate covered with a tar like coating (a "ground") through which thin lines are cut with a diamond tipped stylus or other sharp tool. The plate is then put into an acid bath to etch or corrode the lines into the plate's surface.

The longer the plate stays in the acid bath, the deeper the lines. Deeper lines hold more ink, creating darker marks in the final artwork. This same process of coating the plate, drawing into the ground, and etching the marks is repeated numerous times to develop the final image for printing.

To print the artwork, the plate is coated with a thin layer of specially formulated "printing ink" which is wiped off, leaving ink only in the recessed lines. The "inked" plate is next placed between wool blankets and hand cranked through a press to transfer the artwork onto a dampened sheet of paper. The resulting artwork depends on the artist's use of ink, type of paper, pressing techniques and etching skill.

A well done etching is a combination of skill in drawing, processing the plate in numerous acid bathes, applying the ink, and printing techniques. It's a long process but worth the effort-an artistic image in the manner of old masters such as Rembrandt, Goya and Durer.

"Marsh Oak" An Etching by Charleston Artist Katherine M Schneider

"Marsh Oak"
Zinc plate etching on buff paper
Image size: 4.5"x 6.75"
Paper size: 8.5"x 10.75"
Price: $75.00

The excitement and concern over the health of the Middleton Oak this past week has lead me to post artwork of Lowcountry live oak trees.
To see more artwork of marsh scenes click here.

Today's artwork uses finely etched lines to create a tonal representation of a stately live oak with Spanish moss gently swaying in the breeze.
To see more of my etched artwork, click Etchings here or in the art category list at the right of this page.

Ancient Middleton Oak Breaks Branches and Wedding Plans

The famous Middleton Oak , a 500 year old Live Oak tree at one of the oldest formal gardens in America made news this week when two of it's massive branches came crashing to the ground blocking garden paths .

Emergency measures are being taken to stabilize the remaining branches on this landmark tree which has been designated a "Constitution Tree", indicating it's status as a tree dating from that period in US history.

Throughout it's long life it has served as a trail marker for Native Americans, a shelter for early colonists and planters, and more recently a popular location for couples from around the country to have their weddings.

Today as I was at Middleton Place working on a commissioned painting, I met Shari and Matthew who were looking at the beautiful but now unsafe tree they had come all the way from Chicago to be married under this weekend.

They originally had been told the area under the tree would be cleared and ready in time for their weekend ceremony but recently found out that more time will be needed to stabilize the great tree.

So after a kiss for good luck, they were off to search for another live oak for their ceremony.

They were disappointed but agreed that it was better for the branches to have fallen sooner rather than possibly during their ceremony... and there are no shortage of other beautiful trees to be married under at Middleton Place.

"Lexye in Strawberry Fields" A Pastel Painting by Katherine M Schneider

"Lexye in Strawberry Fields"
Pastel on arches paper
12" x 16'

Spring in the Lowcountry is the time for picking fresh strawberries right off the plants in the fields of several farms open to the public.

This painting of a smiling young girl with hands full of newly picked strawberries buried deep in her lap for safekeeping, is a reminder of happy times spent close to nature.