Autumn Forest Sketching
I just had a lovely afternoon sketching the autumn trees in my backyard.
I have the most lovely view off my back deck – I've always feel like I'm in a treehouse! It's starting to be that crisp air of October, finally. I think autumn is a wonderful time of year.
Sketching trees off my deck is a hard view to sketch, though. There's nothing really to focus on. It's all old growth forest, the trees are about a hundred years old or more. The oaks and hickories block out most of the understory, so just shafts of light briefly cut through the shadows, then disappear. There's not too much going on in the undergrowth right now. The scuppernong (around these parts pronounced scuppenine for some reason) grapes only bloom in sunlight, so no grapes down here, just leafy deer food. In the spring there are all sorts of wildflowers, from wild azaleas to trilliums. But now, mostly layers of leaves crackling underfoot and more falling everyday.
Smaller trees have something to focus on when I'm painting them. Tall trees, I look up and further up. Not many branches even down low. Just smooth trunks and constantly changing sun and shadow.
One of the most beautiful trees in North Georgia is the sourwood. It grows to a tallish understory tree at the edges of clearing, twisting and turning to catch the sun. The contortions it goes through are wonderful to paint. In the spring, lovely streams of flowers that make the best honey in the world. (Yep, sourwood honey wins the world honey contest consistently! :) ) But the most lovely time for the sourwood tree is in the fall. The leaves turn red and orange and deep purple on the same tree. For a few weeks in autumn, the sourwood is the best tree to sketch, twisting and turning through the taller trees, decorated in bright reds!
I sketched this tree off my deck, adding a bit of brown ink to define it. Fall is a lovely time of year to sketch.