Friday, August 14, 2020

The Tree to Our West

8/7/20 From our upstairs deck

Our neighbors a few doors to the west have a huge tree that has been an easy victim of my sketchbook many times. It’s visible from our front porch, the upstairs deck and all the west-facing windows. I’ve probably sketched it with every medium I’ve ever tried, simply because it’s convenient. A couple of my favorites were done on snowy days using toned paper, which made it easier to see the branches coming forward, which is the hardest part to show in any tree drawing. It’s easy enough to show a tree’s sides and top in silhouette against the sky, but then it turns into a flat cut-out instead of a conically or spherically formed tree. It’s one of the most challenging lessons I studied in Suzanne Brooker’s landscape-drawing class a few years ago, and it’s still a struggle.

With the afternoon sun highlighting some branches, including the forward-facing ones, the tree once again became an easy victim. I went out onto our upstairs deck with a couple of high-contrast colored pencils. The sunlit branches were harder to see than snow-covered ones, and harder still to convey the foreshortening. But with the temperature at 68 degrees and the sun at my back, a soft breeze blowing now and then, it was a joy to try.


  1. Lovely sketch of this conveniently located tree. The contrast really gives this tree substance.

    1. Thank you! I have grown fond of this tree as I've come to appreciate its shape and texture.


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