Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nature Notebook -- trying again

Silvia's posts on her nature walks and pictures of her and her daughters' nature notebooks always inspire to make this a habit of my own.  I didn't like the way my pencil sketches were turning out, so I bought myself a set of watercolors.

We have a row of crape myrtles along the driveway and on my walk this morning, the patterns on the bark caught my attention, so this afternoon I attempted to paint the trunks of one of the trees.

This was mostly an exercise in mixing colors and trying get the general blotchiness of the bark.  I gave up trying to recreate it accurately.

I like this result a lot better than my pencils sketches of the Jerusalem Artichoke.


  1. I like it. It will only get better!

    1. I'm going to do this same tree again next time. I feel like I'm not really seeing it properly and I need more time with it.

  2. [Silvia had such interesting comments at Facebook that I asked her if I could post them here where they won't get lost and she agreed. Thanks, Silvia!]

    You got it! Welcome to the Winsor and Newton paints owners club! Aren't they so good quality?
    24 October at 11:05 · Unlike · 1

    I just wish they came with instructions!
    24 October at 11:08 · Like

    If you could sit by someone who knows, like I can sit by Heather Lee, that helps lots, I see what she does with mixing colors, and different brushes, and I think I am improving thanks to that.
    Give a general filling of color. Wait. And once dry, with a fine brush, you add outlines and details. I will ask Heather to tell me what youtube videos she has seen that have helped. Short videos that can inspire you each new time you set to draw.
    24 October at 11:10 · Unlike · 1

    Thanks -- I'll have to ask around. But you're saying don't start with the outline. That greenish-grey color was really hard to get, but next time I should start with it and get the whole general shape of the trunks and then later add the blotches and whatever outlining is needed?
    24 October at 11:15 · Like

    I start with outline, but not in a contrasted color, but I quickly fill up with a first base color, I would have used a greenish brown for outline, and filled up the whole trunks, then, with a very thin brush, I will add detail, and with the darker tones of the trees. The thick flat brush is good for blotching and doing texture. I will still work on this your drawing, now that it is dry. Your outline is great. Instead of using the watercolors like "pencils", try different strokes, and mess up a bit with textures, added layers, different brushes... if you "mess up", you can always wait till it dries, and with a thinner brush, and different color, paint on top.
    Have fun, and keep trying new crazy things.
    24 October at 11:20 · Unlike · 1


What are your thoughts? I love to hear from you!