Walking along the edge of the woods, kicking at the piles of crunchy leaves, I moseyed along searching for just the right spot to park myself and sketch. When I glanced downhill and saw the scene below, a brilliantly colored beech tree framed by oaks and maples, I pulled out my sketchbook and started drawing. Just for kicks, I took photos as I worked, to show you the progression of this little sketch.
With a Noodler's flex pen and Lexington grey ink, I quickly drew the scene in my everyday sketchbook, an Aquabee Super Deluxe 9" x 12". Then I splashed on a rich layer of cadmium yellow to give the woods their glow.
Feeling almost giddy with happiness to be painting outdoors on a perfect fall day, I flooded a flamboyant orange into the yellow and flung spatters of the same across the page. Whether the picture turned out well or not, I was having fun!
Then I got so engrossed in my painting that I totally forgot to take photos! That whole right-side-of-the-brain thing really took over as I added the muted background colors, the foreground trees, and more glazes to the beech tree foliage.
When I "woke up" from my watercolor dream, it was time to head home. I'd made a good start - the finishing touches could be added later in my studio.
I realized later that my tree shape had gotten all out of whack when I was painting in the woods, so I tried to tone down the upper left of my huge orange blob of a tree to make the shape more pyramidal. I added a bit more variation in the leaf tones, too, and darkened the shady side of the trunk. The blue I used in this sketch was Pthalo, instead of my standard ultramarine blue.
I worked on the tree trunks a bit more and added a few dark touches in the background.
The fallen log was finally painted, along with the small sapling in the foreground. The carpet of dried leaves were indicated with a brush and a sponge.
Spattering suggested more forest debris and leaves.
Here's the completed sketch...
(Click to enlarge)
|8" x 5-1/2", watercolor and ink on 93 lb. paper|
There are things I would do differently if I painted it again, but I like it. Can't you tell how happy I was sitting out there under the trees, just me and the chipmunks, and the big, blue sky, and the whole forest aglow around me?