Thursday, November 13, 2014

Drawing Trees

Hawthorne Tree   charcoal on paper   8 x 10
is harder than one might think....and it was at the top of the list for further study in our drawing class.  Some common mistakes:  a too-dark value when relying on a photo reference; not considering the "counter-spaces" between the limbs; and using organic line to describe the limbs, making the tree appear to be weak and rubbery.  I believe that the best resolve for study would be an up-close-and personal sketching session of the joint between a tree trunk and its limb, revealing the play of light and shadow, the roundness and the structure that occurs during branching.  Trees are not created equally.  Each genus has a characteristic rhythm of branching and its own particular height:width ratio.  Of course, background trees can be treated more generally, but a tree portrait must have a likeness, akin to a portrait work.

This hawthorne tree in my neighborhood caught my eye.  We used to have one in our yard as well.  It branches low and sprouts long dangerous needles everywhere.  We also called it a "witch's tree".  My husband couldn't come close on his riding mower without fear of being spiked.  Still....I think the hawthorne is a beautiful and wild-looking tree.  Perhaps a metaphor for...............................

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