Saturday, September 30, 2023

Green Ash at Whole Foods


9/23/23 Whole Foods parking lot, Roosevelt neighborhood

Every autumn I admire the trees surrounding the Roosevelt Whole Foods parking lot when they change from their usual lime green to a brilliant lemon yellow. I always intend to sketch them, but whenever I’m there, the car is full of groceries, and I put it off – and the next thing I know, the leaves are all on the ground.

This year I put them on my leaf-peeping walking tour. On the overcast morning when I sketched them, that lemon hue put sunshine back into the gray sky. The PlantNet app identified the trees as green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica).

Palette thoughts: Although I had a lot of fun last fall experimenting with different secondary triads, I’ve decided not to tie myself to a specific triad this season. One reason is that yellow is an important color to have for some fall trees, like these. Instead of a triad, my general rule of thumb will be to simply stick with a limited palette by using no more than three or four colors at a time. (I think I broke that rule only once in the four sketches I showed yesterday.)

My current pencil palette may look like a random rainbow, but it’s actually fairly methodical (plus a little idiosyncratic): My favorite CMY primary triad (Caran d’Ache Phthalocyanine Blue 162, Purplish Red 350, Yellow 010) and a secondary triad including both a very warm green and a very cool green (Caran d’Ache Cornelian 850, Light Olive 245; Derwent Iron Green 1310, Dusky Purple 730). To those, I added two “convenience” colors: Caran d’Ache Scarlet 070 and Gold Cadmium Yellow 530 (AKA heavy-equipment yellow). It’s a versatile palette that should get me through any urban sketch I’m likely to make this fall.

Green ash foliage

I do find Phthalocyanine Blue a little too warm for Seattle skies (except in summer), but it’s my favorite in primary triads, and I don’t want to carry two blues. Strangely, even though it’s a primary, blue is not very useful for the way I like to sketch. I find dark violet to be more versatile.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you put that green ash on your leaf-peeping tour. That yellow is awesome! Looks like you have a good plan for this fall that isn't quite as restricted as before. Will try to check when I can while I'm gone.


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