Fall was in the air when last I went sketchwalking on Campus Way. There were quite a few runners, some skateboarders and some dog walkers. The air was crisp, the grass was still green but the trees on the distant hillside were turning and the colors of fall were peeking through. I managed to capture a few quick sketches on a somewhat sunny day, but got drizzled out by the end.
The first two sketches are of an extended clump or should I say stand of some really tall trees. I’ve yet to determine what species they are, but their presence is unmistakeable as most of the area around them is open grassy farmland, and they stand sentinel at the end of the stretch. I was fascinated by their intertwined branches outstretched high above and over the pathway,
I tried to convey a sense of their height and the atmospheric mood – the first sketch was the reflection of the bright sunshine atop their crown done on my way out, whereas the second one done on my way back was when the rain clouds had set in and turned everything to an almost grey scale. How quickly the weather does change around here!
From here you get a clear view of Mary’s Peak, granted there aren’t any clouds of Course! Once again the sketches were intended to capture a specific mood and not a photographic representation. It was a clear day but had turned cold and windy by the time I caught the sunset over Marys Peak, and of course the rained out sketch with the rain’s contribution is obvious!
This last sketch here is the distant hillside, and yes the light drizzle by then had turned to rain!
A trip to remember- It’s been a busy two weeks – weeks of celebrations and trips and sundry! The important one was our daughter’s birthday celebration. She had wanted to make a family trip to Fallingwater for some time now, so we decided to surprise her . Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic masterpiece in western Pennsylvania is one of Smithonian’s Life List of 28 places…., and is also a designated National Historic Landmark. Set atop a cascading waterfall the cantilevered architecture of the building is reminiscent of Japanese style homage to nature and space. The building has strong intersecting vertical and horizontal lines in colors of light ochre and Cherokee red, and the cantilevered balconies peek in and out of the lush green foliage almost intertwining and interpenetrating the interior space with the exterior. My favorite bit of the building is the cantilevered stairway that leads from the main level balcony down to the stream below, with an ideal spot to sit and dangle your feet in the gushing water, once again connecting man-made structure with nature. The dappled sunlight filtering through the canopy above bounces off the sparkling water below. The sound of the rushing and gurgling water is inescapable no matter where you go. When you arrive it leads you to the house, and then follows you everywhere as you hike the trails.
I couldn’t resist a few sketches but all we really wanted was to simply enjoy the beauty of this wonder that is.
Our next visit we’ve planned to be here when the rhododendrons are in bloom, as the grounds were covered in them everywhere you looked, along with ferns and other native plants of Pennsylvania.
Day #29/31 #WorldWatercolorMonth
Taking a break from nature and looking closely at man made stuff – the restored Italian Limestone sculptures at the main fountain gardens. I’ve sketched some of these when they were crumbling and patinad from years of use and had fallen silent. Some of them had stopped working and had been cordoned off for safety. Now they’ve been restored and look brand spanking new and are gurgling again.
This one, the lion faced gurgler was always one of my favorites. Here it is in its new revived form.
Day 12 /31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth
On the way back from the Andrew Wyeth exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum, I stopped for a really quick sketch of the lovely Brandywine Valley as seen on a partly cloudy day! The stunning sketches and paintings of Wyeth were still swirling in my head, and I was in the mood for a landscape. Although Wyeth used a much subdued palette for his landscapes, And subjects, I was in the mood for colors with a punch! What I wanted to capture was really the atmosphere rather than recreate the actual scene. To that effect I condensed the perspective a bit and tried to convey the mood that it represented to me as the sun sulked in and out of the stormy clouds casting a shadow sometimes and then taking it away…
Day 9, 10 & 11/31 #WorldWatercolorMonth
I decided to do it differently for the past three days of #WorldWatercolorMonth. For days 9,10 and 11 instead of posting each day I did cumulative sketchs of the same subject over and over. I figured this would improve my technique and a better understanding of my subject matter. I chose the water lily pool at Longwood Gardens. The pools is a bloom and though it’s a late start the lillies are looking great. The large lotus pads which are a trade mark of Longwood’s lily pool have not reached their peak size yet but are still huge! These leaves are what I’ll be focusing on over the next few days. I did a total of 12 sketches but I’m just posting three..
Day 5/31 – #WorldWatecolorMonth
DC put on a spectacular show at the National Mall last night. Fear of thunderstorms had the fate of the fireworks in doubt, but we lucked out and the storm and rain held out long enough for the eager crowds to get what they came for and then some! I managed to capture a few splashes of watercolor in my sketchbook in semi darkness. I did several of these and then I just had to put down my brush and simply watch, and oooh and aaah with the rest of the crowd! This one came out better than the rest so I refined it a bit.
I might just post the other splashes, if I feel bold enough…
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.