Sunday, May 5, 2013

Redbud Sketch

The two redbud trees on the south side of our house have been blooming for weeks, and they give my heart a little lift every time I glance out the window and see them. The colors change depending on what time of day it is, and I can never decide if I like the rich, deep colors of early morning better or the light, cotton-candy color they take on at noon. I feel a compulsion to check out the redbuds anytime I'm near a window on that side of the house, just to see how they look now.

Watercolor with ink & pencil, 9" x 12" American Journey watercolor sketchbook

Even though I've been busy with a hundred different things this week, I couldn't resist taking time out to attempt a sketch of the redbud blossoms before they're all gone. I did a quick ink drawing of a flowering branch, then decided to lightly indicate the entire tree in pencil on the left side of the page.

The initial wet-in-wet washes of watercolor helped to suggest the masses of tiny blossoms along the branches. After they dried, I went back in and added touches of more saturated color to pick out individual petals.

Using only light pencil lines to draw the tree gave it a softer look and helped to differentiate it from the branch, making the page less confusing.

For the lettering, I painted a dusky purple color at the top and red-violet at the bottom of each letter, letting them meet and blend in the middle.

The blossoms on the redbud trees in my yard are beginning to fade and soon leaves will take their place for the summer. I'm so glad I stopped and spent some time with them one sunny afternoon while they were fresh and beautiful. Isn't the fleeting nature of spring beauty one of the reasons we love it so much?


  1. Leslie, this is just gorgeous. I feel like I have learned a lot from looking at it -- the looseness, the bits of detailed leaves, the way you have used ink, the way you have created depth... Mostly, though, you've captured the light and ethereal feeling of this tree. I am very inspired!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comments, Diane. I struggled with this painting a bit. Being loose is not my strong suit, but I'm trying! I need to learn to just stop fiddling with things.

  2. You captured it completely and I love how you overlaid the branch and the tree....BEAUTIFUL!

  3. Gorgeous painting and I really like your composition.

  4. Its lovely. Love how you over lapped the branch with the full tree on other page. Every time I see your work I think..Why didn't I think of that. :)


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