Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another Gnarly Tree

.. this one at Descanso. Two of my sketchy-painting buddies couldn’t make the Plein Air session, and I missed them, not just because their company is always good, but also because I so enjoy seeing their work (and if you follow along closely to this blog, I trust you do, too). But, you know, these are busy, busy women! Hopefully next time, you two – I hope you’re both doing well.

And wait, how is it that I’m painting, and not working, huh? [These voices, these incessant voices. OMG, where do they come from? Do they ever stop?] Hey, sometimes, you have to do what you need to, to soothe your soul. Sometimes being artful does the trick. Sometimes, chocolate. Sometimes, a beer. And when times are tough, heck, it might take all three, and then some.

But maybe I just wanted to take some time and get in a little bit of painting.
[Yeah, that’s it]

There might have been a light shower earlier in the morning, and the skies were cloudy, threatening more rain. But the gardens were bright with blooms, and sections of the garden were decorated to celebrate a warm and vivid Fall season! We were surprised to see any flowers at all, expecting that the summer heat might have done them in. But – wow, the bountiful colors!

I’ve been playing with trying out scribbly interpretations of foliage – trying to get down shorthand gestures and outlines of the overall mass, rather than blocks of color, or individual leaves, or ... ? I’m not sure I’m at a point where any particular scribble is successful in accurately describing what kind of plant I’m drawing (I’m shooting for at least a little bit of reality), but it’s kind of fun, in a lazy, don’t-wanna-think-too-much sort of way.

I’ve started in on a Moleskine sketchbook, rather than just an un-ruled notebook. The sketchbook paper is thicker, so my hope was to do more painting work in the new book and not having to worry about the sheets curling and warping after being painted on. Alas! I’d forgotten how unfriendly the Moleskine paper can be to water-based media. Nix Moleskine Warm-up Drawing # 1. Doh!

I’ve also been carrying along some watercolor paper pads, to entice myself to play more with watercolors (both opaque and transparent). I carry around a lot of art stuff, actually, to entice myself to just do more of it. I schlep it around, but every once in a while, it’s good to have just the right thing, to settle in and play with whatever media fits my mood at that one, inspired moment. So, I finally whipped out the watercolor postcard pad and played with that a bit. It’s nice, you know, because it’s just a 3x5” card, and not a big, demanding blank sheet. I love how Karen captures the gestures of plants; it’s inspiring. So here, I’m trying to get just a little section of a larger plant grouping; so many colors, textures … You know, "Oh, just one more dab of yellow..."

And I’ve still got some of the brown cardstock with little flecks - - it’s been fun to draw on; I’ve got the gnarly tree thing down, I think. I meant to do something else other than the tree, but it was just fun. The three of us that were there commented on how great it is to look up into the leaves of a tree, to see the layers of overlapping leaves, the sky, and the sunlight. It would be great fun to do a more graphical illustration, of the leaves and overlapping shapes and colors, all on a background of sky blue. Right, so that’s what I was thinking, when I drew Gnarly Tree #2. And when I was done, I thought, “Oh great. sigh. Another gnarly tree. Gee..”

So, I was feeling inspired to capture more of what we were actually seeing and feeling and did another little postcard watercolor.

If you can’t quite make it out, it’s the sky, with not-so threatening clouds, and a bit of the tree overhead. See it now? I kind of like the idea of seeing overlapping patterns, without having to see (or draw) the whole tree. Hey, where’d those leaves come from? Does it matter? I’m having fun with this idea, so I’m thinking this is something I’m going to play with for a bit. Watch this space for more … trunkless … leaves in the sky.

My photos and the paintings from the day are here: