light on trees

In recent sketches I have sought to capture the effects capture sunlight on and behind trees using my standard field kit of conte crayons, ink and water.  In the earlier sketches, I drew on textured white paper, dampened so the crayons layer thickly and reworked the drawing later with paint.  Then I started explore the use of toned paper, struggling to leave unworked negative spaces to form part of the image.  The most direct inspiration for this is from the recent sketches of professional artist and blogger, Rosie Scribblah as well as the current explorations of trees in other media by my occasional art buddy, outsideauthority.  Unlike my previous drawings, ones shown here are all completed in the field, not reworked at home.

Last week, returning from drawing at the burial ground, I found a footpath along fields which skirted Nunnery Wood, fenced off on the western side.  The evening sun filtered through the trees and last year’s undergrowth glowed.  In the first sketch,  at the top, the tan surface just about shows through between the short strokes of grey, an attempt to suggest the sky broken by branches into intersecting polygons.  In the second sketch, the surface shows through the light strokes showing the fields but I still could not bring myself to leave the paper untouched.

The next two were done today, closer to home in Sidden Hill Wood.  The low sun slanted in from the left so the many small branches and early leaves scintillated in the background and the nearer trunks glowed green and gold.  I drew on machine-textured Ingress paper.  Having completed the first as well as I thought I would achieve, for the second I tried to  abstract the woods into simple blocks of lightly applied colour through which the toothed paper still shows.

10 responses to “light on trees

  1. We have to work against our own tendencies. So hard to do, but these are showing the benefit of the hard work. I know I spend a lot of time reminding myself not to ‘colour in’.

  2. Leonie is right re working against our tendencies, but in this one post you show us how you got there. Perhaps we have to consciously do the same ‘old thing’ first before we can start to adjust. I too, influenced by Rosie have purchased some coloured paper, but I know it will sit there for a while before I use it – I’ll have to ‘consciously’ not use it first!

    • Spoken like a true artist. Anyone can procrastinate but only an artist can consciously not use it. 👩🏻‍🎨. It’s the difference between not drawing and using negative space. And in case you think I’m being sarky, I’m not! It has to feel right in the moment.

      • Not long ago I probably wouldn’t see that distinction and would be sarcastic myself! Just goes to show how much we both are thinking and planning inbetween doing now. The more I write, the more pretentious I sound! but I’m sure you know what I mean

  3. I really like all the tree drawings. It’s true that starting again is often very liberating. Unless I’ve deliberately done an en plein air drawing with a view to painting it later, I really try not to touch the drawing when the scene is no longer in front of me. A friend of mine once advised me ‘Leave it. You might go on and change it to produce a different picture – but it won’t be a better one’.

    • Thanks
      I think I often do have a plan to continue a piece at home started on site. Partly, I give in when my hands get cold. More though, at home I can distance myself from the scene, and stop striving slavishly to capture every detail.
      Still, these recen sketches are intended to be just that, brief sketches to capture a mood, a light, a reel of the place, a key detail and I need to learn to stop.

  4. Wow, I love the three where you have focused on a much smaller area. I think that’s enabled you to go for abstraction and it really works. The Ingres paper seems to suit you.

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