Exercise 47: Study of several trees
Spend 1-2 hours on this. Study a group of trees. Introduce colour. Look for a point of interest. Work in broad tonal areas. Don’t get stuck with detail.
I chose a setting which offered the chance to draw trees receding – another opportunity to practise perspective. The tree in the foreground stood out, being so different to those beyond it – branches and roots radiating out at all angles, while those in the distance were notable for their relative straightness, height, and uniformity. It seemed an interesting contrast. Yet again, though, I am unable to identify the types of trees here (save for the lone birch tree) – this part of the course has taught me I need to find a good guidebook and learn to recognise different trees.
I used Inktense coloured pencils, adding washes where I needed a greater intensity of colour. This was effective, but not always predictable. The ground was largely covered with dried leaves in muted shades of rust, brown and grey. I wanted to avoid getting caught up in small details, simply indicating something of the textures generally. However, the colours I chose changed hugely when water was applied – the whole forest floor shone bright yellow! I knocked it back with various shades, but I think it remains the least successful area of the drawing.
I was happier with the tree in the foreground. Muted on first glance, closer observation offered up a number of beautifully subtle shades. The light source was a diffuse grey sky, whilst the close growth of the trees meant that the light came largely from overhead. The tonal aspects are fairly accurate and describe the tree well, and I think there’s a clear sense of atmospheric perspective.
The study took rather a long time, and I felt like doing something speedier once I’d finished – hence the two quick sketches below. The first was a splashy watercolour affair, showing vivid green branches against a backdrop of trees still bearing some of their autumnal foliage. I squinted my eyes a little, in order to focus on colour, rather than detail.
Lastly, an ink sketch of a tree-lined stream. For this I used a chopstick and a twig (shaped into rough nibs at home). I added a few touches of pastel too.