I never would have thought inspiration for a painting would come from running, but a tree on my running route has captured my attention for years. It sits by itself and has great shapes - but it wasn't until this late spring that it made me stop mid-run and then return later with a camera. As the tree has aged and is in the process of dying, its fantastic shapes have been accentuated by cracking bark and breaking branches. On this crisp, clear day, the "breaking" tree created the illusion that it was also cracking the sky behind it, which was made all the more striking by the intense light of the day. This piece is about the composition, but also about the feeling of the breaking and fracturing. While the tree is dying, there is also a sense of drama and defiance I wanted to capture.