Friday, June 2, 2023

Both Sides of the Arboretum


5/25/23 Washington Park Arboretum

We were treated to two fabulous days of “summer” last week as a lead-up to Memorial Day weekend. Nilda and I met at the Washington Park Arboretum, hiked through the quiet, cool, forest-like side, then found a shady bench to sit, chat and sketch. In the distance, I spotted a tree still brilliantly lighted by the afternoon sun (above). By the time we left a couple of hours later, it was mostly in shade.

We didn’t get around to the colorful side of the Arboretum, where the rhodies and azaleas were at peak the prior week. I knew they wouldn’t be around much longer, so the very next day, the spouse guy and I decided to catch the color. Almost exactly a year ago, we had enjoyed the same colorful route, but I had sketched with only graphite. This time, I pulled out all the stops and let the color flow.

5/26/23 Azaleas and rhododendrons

What struck me on this visit was that while the eye is bedazzled by brilliant hues of pink, red and orange, the dark green foliage surrounding the blossoms is what makes the floral colors pop. That seems self-evident, and yet I realized I hardly pay attention to surrounding foliage when I decide to sketch colorful blooms. This time, I did pay attention. (I sure love all the texture I got -- and its the Hahnemuhle paper that did all the work!)


  1. I like the sunlit tree, but the knockout colors of the flowers in the second sketch are awesome! I wish the flowers would last longer.

    1. Yeah, it's hard to beat the flowery side of the Arboretum!


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