Saturday, March 28, 2015

Jonquil and Plein Air Trees

8" x 10" pastel on brown sketch paper

Last Wednesday was my clinic visit and the elevator in my building still hasn't been fixed. So I called in to Paratransit and set my pickup time an hour late to have time for sketching. The stairs wiped me out, but the shot invigorated me and the weather was good. So I went out into the garden. The previous visit a whole bed of jonquils blazed bright lemon yellow in the back plus a few scattered around in other beds. This time there were three plants left. 

Two were in extremely awkward places that I had to step off the path and weave between beds of flowers just to get photos. That was difficult and strenuous. I lost a couple of pocket contents just getting photos of those and the micro lilacs from the strangest lilac bush I've ever seen - litle spikes maybe 3" long and tiny 1/8" florets in deep blue-violet. Wonderful scent though and I got a series of photos of those. I wore myself out on plant photography and then discovered even the easiest jonquil to reach still meant sitting on hte grass looking down at it, or lay down and get a photo at its level. I got down for the photo.

Then went out back by the patient drop-off and pickup spot, got some good azalea photos and sketched my jonquil from the best photo. I was not happy with the sketch, thought it was awful, covered the pad and put it away. Read a little just resting. Then got the sketch urge again and decided to do the big palm tree beyond the parking lot that I've never gotten a good photo of close enough for detail, plus the deciduous tree that overlapped it. The bases were actually blocked by some shorter bushes and plantings, but once I'd sketched them they floated. I picked up some green and added a harmonic line a little like those in Chinese paintings to make the sketches look better.

Trees study from life
Winsor & Newton Watercolour Markers on Bockingford paper

Why I don't like this sketch is that the extra color I picked up blurred and created unwanted blossoms and bare patches at random in the foliage of both. It's not totally a success. But not totally a failure either. It is what it is - a tree study from life. I remember the trees better for sketching this. Where it's not literal I did get the basic shapes and identities and the feel of them.

I could probably have reworked and layered this, but that would change it a lot and it might come out overworked if I did. So I treated it as a study and after I finished the jonquil this afternoon, decided to post both. It can stand as what it is. Not every sketch has to be an inspired, perfect painting!

As for the pastel jonquil, I finished without looking back at the photo. I had enough sketch to go by and just strengthened it. Not my best but lots better than it looked unfinished. Again, a study, a sketch, not a fine painting on sanded paper. This is what that brown Bee Recycled Rough Sketch paper is for!

I started it with Cretacolor Pastels Carre' (hard pastels 36 colors) and finished with 60 Rembrandt half sticks, soft pastels at the "medium" range of softness. Good enough to go on the sketch wall!

Forget perfectionism, just have fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment