My favorite place to sketchwalk is in the meadows at Longwood gardens. Since the meadows expansion project, the trails and pathways now meander through the meadows and the views from each vantage point are spectacular any time of the year. My favorite view is from this one spot where I can see the Webb Farmhouse across the undulating landscape. I tend to be biased and sketch from this vantage point more often. Although there are other views that I’ve sketched, this one always gets my attention. In my last post I’d shown you its summer glory. Today’s post has the fall colors of the meadows.
There is so much color in the fall with all the greens now darker and the seedheads and pods taking on various shades of browns and purples and grays. The skies in the fall have their own stories to tell in color too, but I kept the sky muted in this sketch, as I thought it would be too much and detract from the main theme. What do you think? Comments welcome.
I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but trying to create texture in watercolor has been a journey for me thus far… I’ve built up quite a stack of experimental washes, not always with a subject in mind, just allowing the paint to flow and seeing where it leads me, but always keeping in mine my aim to develop textures of all sorts in the making! Sometimes subjects emerge and I follow through and sometimes they’re just an abstract outcome. Below are just two of my stacks that will end up as bound sketchbooks.
It has been such a satisfying experience that I’m still continuing with this process, but I thought I’d post a few of the final results too.
This is a view of the farm on the meadows at Longwood Gardens in summer. I used a quick 5 minute sketch I did while sketchwalking there in summmer as my reference for the above painting. Below is the 5 minute reference sketch I did while walking…quite a difference in textures between the two …don’t you think.
Everyday on my sketch walk all I see around me is texture – bleak rainy days, on cloudy days, and even on a sunny day. Here in the Pacific Northwest, come fall when the trees have lost all their leaves and the weather turns damp and rainy, the trees seem to come alive again, but this time the pale creamy green you see is mostly lichen. The lichen seem to get brighter and fuller and thrive in this moisture laden atmosphere. Everywhere you look tree trunks and limbs are laden with varieties of the stuff, different sizes, shapes and shades of green from bright greens to whitish pale greens. So sketching trees now isn’t about smooth trunks and limbs but lots and lots of texture to convey the appearance of the moss and lichen. Some are curly, some spongy, some even look like stag horns and some are feathery and long and dangle in strands, but they’re everywhere, even on the broken twigs and a limbs on the ground that manage to find their way home with me. This has inspired me to add more texture to my watercolors and I’ve been trying new ways (new for me) to do so. Here’s a quick view of my attempts so far.
A few treasures from my walk…leaf and lichen
And my impression of a lichen laden tree…
Still working on texture creation, so there’ll be more.
I love to combine activities, so when I go for walks I carry my sketchbook with me to capture some of the beauty around me. For some time now I’ve been wanting to sketch the chaos beneath these trees along the hedgerow I pass every day. It’s a riot of color what with the bramble which still has its leaves now turning purple, the thousands of rose hips in reds and oranges, the fallen leaves tangled in between and not to mention the seed heads of the Queen Ann’s lace and the teasels lining the edge. I tried several attempts but wasn’t quite satisfied with the sketches- they needed more texture to convey the chaotic sense. So I’ve been experimenting with texture. Here are some preliminary ones:
This left one is of the tree that is my one mile marker. In summer it has wild roses in full bloom all around its base and their heady perfume wafts up as I pass by. The one on the right is a mass of three trees – I only had room for two on my page, on a slope on the ravine. The strong roots are much more visible now beneath the bramble
This little stump has a lot more bramble has the most rose hips trailing over it. But I didn’t quite get to the rose hips. I liked the way it looked st this stage and decided to stop here.
I did a few more focused just on the bramble, rose hips and the teasels. I’m having so much fun with this, I’ll be doing a lot more and trying out new ways to convey texture.
The past few days have been a rollercoaster of foggy, misty, rainy thunderstorms. Although this makes for dull gray days, it does however result in some great cloud formations and misty effect over the mountains. I’ve had a ball trying to capture these misty mountains. Here is a first attempt at capturing the rainy mist over Mary’s Peak
Here’s a second try. I never like to use the same colors twice when redoing a painting.
I also tried the same effects on the mountains that run along the side of Mary’s Peak. Again of course on yet another color combination.
I like the way they turned out. This gives me ideas for a larger painting across the mountain range.
Fall has been lingering a bit this year, and all the better, as I’ve been behind in capturing the colors this year. So last week with sketchbook in hand I went for a stroll at Longwood. My sketchbook wasn’t long enough so I had to double back to fetch some longer sheets of watercolor paper. Here’s the result. I still wish the paper could have been even longer…
Even as I was sketching the clouds came by quite suddenly and I had to get another view with the clouds in this time. The sketch turned out a bit busy but worth the effort as now I have another sketch to add to my cloudscape studies…
It’s almost time to say goodbye to October with just one day to go. So, whatever happened to #Inktober? Well, let’s just say I have been inking, I just haven’t managed to post any yet. I knew #inktober would be a challenge for me, but it wasn’t the sketching part, as I sketch everyday. In fact I’m an obsessive Sketcher, but to me sketching usually involves diving right in with brush and paint. Be it watercolor or acrylic, I never sketch any pen or pencil under lines. So picking up a pen to sketch felt somewhat strange at first. Of course I’m all about color, so I had to add color to my sketches to complete them. But coloring within the lines was even tougher. So I did the only thing I knew to do, I simply let loose…Here are some sketches from week one of October-
Two are quick warmup sketches of my daughter, one while she was cat napping after a long day and the other her most coveted seat on the floor leaning on the couch watching CNN whilst texting on her iPhone, ofcourse! i also managed a quick attempt to capture Fareed Zakaria on GPS on a Sunday morning.
Of course I couldn’t let go of color, so the next few are watercolor on ink.
A pot of ornamental chillies, a fallen tree in the woods, the meadows and farmhouse at Longwood Gardens and of course how could I not sketch the lotus ponds at Longwood.
These sketches are done in 3-5 minutes and are meant to capture the essence of the moment and subject, so not perfect. I like doing these loose sketches, they are spontaneous and more lively.
Day 30/31 #WorldWatercolorMonth
I see this mountain everyday from our home, and I miss it when I’m away! It’s officially known as Mary’s Peak, but I see the face of Buddha in a reclining pose! Hence the name…
Day 28/31: #WorldWatercolorMonth
A quick sketch in my moleskin while trying to stay in sync with the group whilst traveling.
Day 27/31: #WorldWatercolorMonth
A really quick sketch done at the Griffith Observatory as the sun was setting while waiting in line for the Zeiss Telescope and the Solar Telescope!