Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Kubota Garden’s Masses of Foliage


7/16/21 Kubota Garden

On previous sketching visits to Kubota Garden, I have usually focused on manmade structures like the Moon Bridge or the Terrace Overlook. I’d like to say that’s because those subjects are appealing structures, and they are, but let’s be honest: The main reason to focus on them is that they are easier to draw than masses and masses of foliage. Another sketcher in a different but similarly intimidating location once looked around and said with exasperation, “It’s all everything! And nothing!”

Truer words haven’t been spoken about Kubota Garden. In Kristin Frost’s tree-drawing class last Friday, I guess I was feeling brave. Wanting to make a composition that included as many different foliage textures as possible, I knew I could choose a spot almost randomly to meet my requirement. I plunked myself down in front of this view and hoped for the best.

Although something solid and concrete would have anchored the composition, in some ways the dripping, vertical branches of the conifer in the foreground served that purpose. Flummoxed about how to make those light-colored branches stand out against the darker background, I asked Kristin for help. She suggested that I pick a few of the slender branches closest to the viewer and give each a consistently shaded side. Then darkening the background spaces between the wispy needles near the ground plane would pull them forward.

For previous graphite classes, I’ve usually chosen relatively smooth papers. For this one, I’ve been using a Canson XL 98-pound mixed media sketch pad. It has a medium tooth that suits foliage well. Sometimes I just use a soft-grade pencil and let the paper do the work.

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