Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Lesson in Trees on the Olympic Peninsula

10/22/14 J. Herbin Vert Olive ink, Caran d'Ache Museum
water-soluble colored pencils, Canson XL 140 lb.
paper (Olympic National Park rainforest)
Rain, trees, rain, trees, rain and more silence than I’ve heard in a long time: that describes my past few days on the Olympic Peninsula. 

Greg and I decided to celebrate our 25th anniversary by renting a small cottage near Lake Crescent. (“Small cottage” was the description used on AirBnB, but it turned out to be bigger than our house! I guess they have different standards for “small” in a place where the landscape is covered with mountains and trees as far as the eye can see.) The rain kept us indoors most of the time, but the quiet seclusion and beautiful landscape almost made up for the disappointing weather.

As it turned out, I got three ideal days for making trees studies in various media because our cottage was literally surrounded by forest, so I could sketch trees from every window. On one day the rain let up for about an hour, so we quickly dashed out to see some of the rainforest that we had hoped to hike through. I managed to get one sketch of a bizarre and ghostly tree dripping with moss (which the rainforest is full of) before the rain started up again.

We also spent some time at the Lake Crescent Lodge in the Olympic National Park, where I sketched a bit from inside the car. The lake and surrounding mountains were lovely when we could see them, but they were often shrouded in mist.

On the way home we drove through Port Gamble and parked outside the Buena Vista Cemetery for an in-car picnic lunch. The cemetery is an ideal Halloween graveyard with a bunch of aged and crooked markers and mostly bare trees tossing about in the wind. At night, it might have given me the creeps, but at noon with the sun finally breaking through the clouds for a few minutes, it was a delightful treat.

10/21/14 watercolor (Lake Crescent)
10/23/14 India ink, twig, Museum pencils (Buena
Vista Cemetery, Port Gamble)

10/22/14 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink, Museum
pencils, watercolor

10/22/14 India ink, twig, watercolor

10/22/14 India ink, twig

10/22/14 Pilot Iroshizuku Take-sumi ink (tree studies)

10/21/14 India ink, twig, Museum pencils
10/20/14 watercolor
10/23/14 Platinum Carbon and Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-
syogun ink, watercolor, Museum pencils
(Buena Vista Cemetery, Port Gamble)
10/23/14 India ink, twig, Museum pencil (Buena Vista
Cemetery, Port Gamble)


  1. Good tree sketches but I just love the ones of the lake with the purple tints to the sky and mountain. Looks like a gorgeous place. Happy Anniversary!

    1. Thank you, Joan! It was a lovely anniversary celebration!

  2. This is so great. Thank you so much for sharing all these works with us. I love the impressionistic fall foliage trees. Can I request a blog post? You often mention "twig" in your supplies. As a new artist I imagine purchasing the best available sable twig from an art supplier, but perhaps you just scour the forest floor. Could you tell us about twigs? Thanx!

    1. Thank you! My twig sketches are inspired by Kiah Kiean (better known as KK), an artist in Penang, whose demo I saw in Brazil. If you want to see some really inspiring twig sketches, check out his blog!
      My twigs are literally ones I picked off the ground from our yard under various trees. KK said the particular type of tree doesn't really matter, but the twig has to be dried for a while. Then just take a knife and whittle one end into sort of a pointy "nib" shape. Again, the actual point doesn't matter too much -- it's more just getting used to wielding a strange drawing instrument! ;-) Have fun!


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