Saturday, February 13, 2021

Roots: Another Sunset Hill Cherry


2/10/21 Cherry tree, Sunset Hill neighborhood (graphite on Strathmore Bristol smooth, 7" x 9", photo reference)

This week’s tree-drawing lesson was on roots, and what surprising structures they can be. It’s easy to think of trees hiding their roots underground, but many have roots that are clearly visible – and some are as elaborate as branches.

This old cherry is a “sister” to the one I drew last week when we were studying trunks. It’s on the same block in the Sunset Hill neighborhood. Resembling the folded legs of someone sitting on the floor, the roots begin at the top of the trunk right below the branches and twist around before eventually digging underground. Other photos I took of the same tree show that the pavement next to it is badly cracked and buckling where the roots push continuously against soil, rock and concrete, seeking nourishment and stability. Trees are amazing!

My indispensable desk easel.
Incidentally, my desktop easel is an indispensable tool for this drawing class. I use it for the daily drawings of my hand too, but those don’t take much time, so it’s less essential (though helpful in keeping my sketchbook at the same angle as my “model”). Each graphite tree drawing is taking several hours over the course of a week, and the easel keeps me from hunching over my table and getting a sore neck and shoulders. When working with graphite, which is shiny and reflective, it also keeps the paper at an angle so that the desk lamp isn’t illuminating it directly. Finally, it’s critical for my drawing to be at the same angle as the photo reference to avoid distortion.


  1. In this I see two figures cuddled together so I am glad you posted the part about folded legs sitting on the floor. lol Now I know it isn't just me. Wonderful detail to this!

    1. Most of my classmates and social media followers who commented saw some people entwined in some way! ;-)


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