Tuesday, May 14, 2019


5/6/19 Maple Leaf neighborhood

“Are you doing this for a class?”

The curious passer-by asked me this after I had answered his questions about what I was doing on the corner of Northeast 85th. Initially, I think he had difficulty understanding what I could find interesting about the traffic circle there, but when I explained how I was using the bicolor editing pencil – red for the areas in light, blue for the areas in shade – he became more interested himself.

“No class – just self-study, and for fun,” I answered. And it is fun – but also fascinating. For example, the shadows and light on most of the plantings and the caution signs were straightforward enough (once I got past making the yellow diamonds red and blue!).  The tree, though, was another matter. More accustomed to sketching trees with tightly clustered leaves, I expected the left side of this one to be mostly illuminated, and the right side in shade. But the more I squinted and observed, the more I realized that almost all the leaves were dark, except for a small area on the right where individual leaves were reflecting light. If I had been using realistic colors, I probably would have made all the leaves the same color and might not have even noticed this apparent contradiction.

Below is another study in red and blue – this time in the Roosevelt neighborhood. Once again, it was a lace leaf Japanese maple that had initially caught my eye, but as I studied the light and shadow on it, its surroundings attracted me, too. The car, the houses, even the utility pole seemed more interesting when I observed the light more closely.

5/2/19 Roosevelt neighborhood

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