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Sketching Trees in Watercolor


Sketching trees
Sketching the woods in my backyard.

I love sketching trees in this section of my yard. It’s cool and ferny with moss growing where grass should. I’ve been building stone steps up to a rope hammock under the trees. I’ve spent a lot of time reading or rocking my boys in the shade.

Sketching trees is rewarding but difficult. The light is dappled and constantly changes. There’s a lot of editing going on since so much is happening in every view. (Notice how the hammock was edited out. Oh, that was painful but it didn’t work.) What the woods really it come down to cool and warm, light and dark. Simplify into these elements with a value sketch and you’ll have the start of your painting.

This area faces west and up a steep hill so it’s backlit beautifully in the late afternoon. I sit in the shady ferns on my “lawn” and sketch up the hill into the light. It’s an always inspiring, always changing view.

Take a look at your own backyard, whether it’s a farm in rolling acres or out an apartment window into walls. Paint what you see in front of you. Think about the precious images in your daily life and how they make you feel. Inspired exotic scenery is wonderful – I love painting vacation spots as much as anyone. But being able to paint what you see and feel every day is being an artist.

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