Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Farm House Tree

4/2/14 Kuretake brush pen, Platinum Carbon and Diamine Grey inks, watercolor,
Zig marker, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
“Do you know the story about that house?” the woman asked. She and her husband had been walking the path around Maple Leaf Park when they stopped to admire my sketch. When I replied that I didn’t, she told me that it was the original farm house back in the day when the whole area where we were standing had been covered with pear orchards.

You can probably tell that I was more interested in the huge leafless tree than in the house behind it, which I was tempted to skip altogether except that, in faithful Urban Sketcher style, I wanted to include some context to give the tree scale. But after she told me about the house’s origin, I was happy that I had included it after all.

In the book I reviewed this morning, Felix Scheinberger says, “If you have a personal or emotional relationship with your subject, this meaning will creep into your picture almost magically and will also reach its viewers.” It’s very true – if I know something about my sketch subject, no matter how little, it helps me sketch it better. Maybe next time I’ll try a sketch with the house as the primary subject rather than the tree, and that small factoid I learned about it will make the house resonate with me.

But back to the tree. The woman I chatted with told me that she and her husband have lived in the neighborhood for 48 years, and she thinks this tree is well over a hundred years old. She also told me it’s a maple. You can bet I’ll be back in the fall to sketch this tree again.

(By the way, I sketched this view from the same spot from which I had sketched the sculpture and water tower the other day – except turned around 180 degrees.) 

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