Monday, April 3, 2023

Cherries at Last (and Back to Pencils)


3/30/23 Maple Leaf neighborhood (on trash day)

After their overlong winter’s nap, some cherries are still yawning, but at least they’ve gotten out of bed. Although many varieties still have tight buds, I’ve spotted a few that are finally opening. These are an interesting variety – with slender trunks, they had big, chunky roots sticking out of the grass on one side only. I’m sure those roots will eventually break through the pavement.

I don’t carry gouache on my fitness walks, so all I had with me were watercolor pencils, and you know what? After all my prep with new pinks this season, I think I still like the look of pencils best. They don’t have the opacity I thought I was looking for, but now I can’t remember why I wanted it in the first place. I guess I needed to wander around for a while before I was ready to come home.

Since my previous choice of purple as the shadow color made my plum trees look like jacarandas, this time I tried a slightly dusty lavender called Aubergine (099) in the Caran d’Ache Supracolor line. I like the hue better, but its pigment level is wimpy; I had to boost the dark trunks with a green Museum Aquarelle (all my secondary triad experiments are paying off – I love mixing purple with green). The pink is the same Supracolor (081) I’ve used in previous springs, and I think I’ll stick with it.

After a brief dalliance, I'm back home with my beloved watercolor pencils. 

One thing I tried that was different was the way I activated the color. When sketching foliage, I typically apply pencil heavily to dry paper, then spritz with water. From my gouache-and-watercolor-pencil sketch the other day, I learned that I like the look of pencil applied to the wet gouache, so I tried something similar here: I spritzed the paper generously first, then applied the pencils aggressively to the wet paper. I knew the 100-percent cotton Hahnemühle paper could take it, and it did – beautifully.

OK, I’m going to settle back into my beloved watercolor pencils, stop fussing about other media (with the possible exception of gouache), and just enjoy this fleeting season of pink.


  1. I think the last one with the watercolor pencils captures the color and feel the best!


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