In preparation for my painting-a-day series in May, I've been . . . well, painting. Here is one I completed today---it's a scene I've painted a few times before, an old standby for me. The reference photo, years ago, was of a stand of cypress trees in midwinter, their needles a rusty brown, flaring red wherever the sunlight hit them. The painting quickly became a generic parody of itself, if I can call it that---a loosely interpretted stand-in for the real thing, where the trees are no longer really cypress trees but storybook trees with no real genetic ties to anything authentic. All for the sake of a pretty picture. It is eye-catching, isn't it?