Calderstones trees

by Chris

I have always found trees fascinating and rewarding as subjects for art.

In a picture they add atmosphere and location and, in the abstract, areas of texture or colour that can be shaped as you wish.

Trunks and branches have their own textures and patterns, should you wish to focus on them; they also give you shapes and lines that can be arranged to provide rhythms and divisions in composition.

So a useful advantage that trees give when drawing is the flexibility that comes from their organic randomness: You can adapt the shapes: there’s no great need to be accurate.

However, I realise that trees do present challenges as well as benefits when it comes to drawing. Foliage, for example, can be seen as both form and texture. Drawing the texture of leaves with pencil or pen requires developing a vocabulary of mark-making.

It’s easier with paint. Alan (who joined the group for the afternoon) used a very effective procedure starting with loose pen line then turning to watercolour. The variation of foliage colours adds interest.

by Alan

David added interest by including a group of figures with bikes. And a dog.

by David
by Nina

Nina concentrated on the ivy and scrub at the base of the trunk, then mapped out the venous structure of the branches. Later at home (below) she added the foliage, though in reality I think the foliage should obscure much of the branch structure. To do that it would have to be applied thick and dark – not so easy in watercolour.

by Nina (further work)

Finally a sketch by Esther using a nice mix of dynamic mark-making and tonal variation to capture the atmosphere of a pleasant drawing afternoon – quite possibly the last time we get outside to draw this year.

by Esther

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