Tuesday, February 11, 2014

For The Love Of Trees

Since we are coming up on Valentine's Day I thought I would work some love into the blog this week. It is no secret that I love trees. Marilu has the same  obsession with trees as I do. We have brought our family and friends into this tree passion. They often see a interesting tree and will take pictures, then send them to us. My husband, Rick, has taken pictures on golf courses for me to see. Sometimes you see trees that you can admire but to translate them into a drawing just won't work or they are only recognizable within a certain part of the country, the world. With that said, it doesn't mean I won't try to draw them. Sometimes even if it is just to understand the texture of the trees bark.

Drawing/painting trees can be a challenge. Are you drawing winter trees without leaves, pines trees with snow, trees that have spikes along with leaves or dead trees, that have a mystery all their own?When I am working in plein air doing a sketch of a tree I often will take my glasses off so that I don't see the details first. I want to look at the general shape of the tree. How do the arms line up, some trees have an alternating pattern. Other trees the branches come out equally on either side. Looking at the trunk first to get the direction it is growing, trees are not straight up and down. There are some pines that are pretty straight but there are always little twists and turns. These are the characteristics that make the tree interesting to look at and to draw. Does the tree reach up with it's branches or do they bend over as if they are trying to touch the ground? I love old trees, they have so much color within the layers of the bark. Trees are not brown, look closely, walk up close and see the greens, grays, oranges that are within the bark. When painting allow those colors to be part of the tree, the under-painting or the accent color.

For the love of trees, I will go back to the woods, hike the national parks, walk down my street and sometimes just observe from afar. Tomorrow, maybe we'll talk about the leaves.

pastel on canson paper, east coast trees

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