When I first began sketching, I declared many sketching nemeses. Architecture (or maybe architectural perspective is more accurate) was an early one; another was cars; and another was trees. Each caused me anxiety when it was part of a composition I was considering, so my first impulse was to avoid the nemesis and look for something else to sketch. But I knew that the only way to slay a nemesis was to face it head-on and practice.
Eventually, with enough practice, the anxiety went away, though the subject matter didn’t become less challenging. Buildings, cars and trees are all still challenging to me, but they have become fun challenges, and I no longer feel the impulse to run.
Trees, however, have changed again for me in a way that the other two former nemeses have not. I now find drawing trees to be not only challenging and fun; it is also relaxing and meditative. Sometimes when I’m feeling stressed or burdened, or my mind has been engaged in some kind of heavy lifting, I step outside and find a tree to sketch. A 15-minute tree break relaxes me so that I can return to whatever I was doing before, refreshed. (Each of these recent sketches was done in about 15 minutes.) Trees have made a full transformation from nemesis to friend.
Below are some sketches I made during my first year or so of sketching when trees were still in enemy territory. I’m happy that I didn’t run; trees are worth making friends with.