Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Trees Again – Properly This Time


7/2/21 Madrone tree, Washington Park Arboretum
I never thought that trees would become such a central focus of my attention, given that they were an officially declared sketching nemesis when I first started out. But here I am again taking another Gage class in drawing trees, though this time with a huge difference: It’s not on Zoom, and we’re not using photos! Every week, we are drawing living trees where they grow – which is the only proper way to draw a tree, in my opinion.

Taught by Kristin Frost, whom I first became acquainted with last December during her excellent Drawing Jam demo, the class meets at a different city park each week this month. In my experience, most “all levels” drawing classes begin slowly with an intro to materials and basic techniques. In our first class last Friday at the Washington Park Arboretum, we took on a heavy-hitting topic as soon as we sat down in the grass: composition! This is a subject I have been wanting to tackle, so her immediate approach to it surprised and delighted me. Although it wasn’t billed as such, the class seems to be aimed at a higher experience level, which I am very pleased by.

This class is special to me in another way: It is my first in-person class in 16 months! As much as I appreciated being able to continue taking Gage classes throughout the pandemic, I am extremely tired of Zoom. I am not quite ready to go back into the classroom, but this plein air class is exactly what I need as a transition. As I drew this Madrone in the shade of the arboretum’s enormous trees, a breeze cooling the mid-70s temperature, I couldn’t think of many ways in which I could be happier or more serene while taking a class (or happier, period).

We started by making several thumbnails to plan potential compositions.

The thumbnail at lower left was the one I chose to pursue in the drawing at the top of the page. But I changed the aspect ratio of the drawing, and I think my thumbnail composition was better than the final drawing.


  1. There is a new book out called “The Heartbeat of Trees”. I’m requesting that my public library buy it for their collection. Glad you were able to get outside for a class, makes life seem a little more “normal”.

    1. I did feel as "normal" as I ever have since being vaccinated!

  2. This looks like such a great class. Practicing with potential compositions is a great idea. I like your final version a lot.

    1. Truthfully, I think I would have been happy drawing and studying anything outdoors, but trees do make me feel at peace!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...