Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Snowy Hemlock

2/14/21 first try
Sunday the snow kept falling. The boughs on the huge hemlock in our neighbors’ yard were beautifully weighted with snow. Two years ago when I sketched the scene through the kitchen window, I didn’t know how to capture that tree except in a “positive” way, so I used white colored pencil on gray toned paper (bottom of post).

This time I challenged myself to do it the hard way – the “negative” way. Instead of the whole scene, I focused on just a small portion of the tree to make a study with nothing but a graphite pencil and a smudging tool (at left).

That afternoon, I looked at the sketch again and asked, What would Kathleen Moore say? She would say that I need to push the values further – make the darks darker and increase the contrast by putting darker tones behind the light areas. (This has become the most-often heard suggestion she has made to everyone in class, not just to me.) So I did – and she (at least her voice in my head) was right! The old dog can learn tricks after all.

2/14/21 Values pushed further

2/9/19 My sketch from 2019 on gray paper.


  1. Pushing the darks is always a good idea. People kept telling me that for the longest time when I started doing watercolors These are great!

    1. It's not an easy lesson to learn! But I'm paying attention!


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