|6/23/20 Green Lake neighborhood
Among Seattle’s common trees is a very dark red, nearly purple one (see below) that has small pink blossoms in spring. The foliage stays this color year-round until the leaves fall off in autumn. With the help of social media, I finally learned that it is an ornamental plum.
These ubiquitous trees are tough to sketch. If I make them too bright red or red-orange, they look like maples in the fall. If I try to replicate that very dark color, it’s often too violet or nearly black. Since I’m sketching and not making a botanical drawing, accurately representing the hue is not critical; I don’t expect viewers to be able to identify a tree species from a sketch. Trees do, however, provide information about the location and season, so they can be an important part of an urban sketch’s “story.” I don’t want a sketch to be mistaken for late-autumn if I made it in June.
In this sketch, I used Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle Russet (065), which is too orange and too bright (with French Grey 808 for the shadows). I’m looking through my pencils to find a better hue and will report back the next time I sketch one of these plums.
|Ornamental plum trees, Green Lake neighborhood