Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sketch of Three Trees

17x21cm pencil

It’s not a great concentrated study, but the most important thing about this little sketch is the fact that I’ve done it. It’s the first proper work I’ve done since developing a deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism while visiting Madam’s family in USA at the end of August.

This is maybe not the place for the story of the diagnoses and trip back, let’s just say that I’m happy to be home, it’s safe now, and I’ll be taking a daily dose of warfarin for the next few months. When it was painful I had no concentration (I couldn’t get more than a four-letter answer on Countdown), and it is still too uncomfortable to work at an easel, even sitting down. I am meant to walk a mile or so every day, and have been looking about at the autumn changes, though nothing tangible has come from it.

Until last Friday that is, when I saw these trees up the road in Merchiston Park. I photographed them, then got out my trusty sketchbook and actually STOOD for twenty-five minutes to do a quick drawing, waggling my DVT leg and taking most of my weight on my good one. Really pleased that I’d actually done something, however raw.

I think the three separate trees make an interesting group, and I like the flat spiral movement rising around the trunks from the lower left to the top right. The front tree’s cut-off branch opens an abrupt space, and makes an incomplete rhyme with the visible branches of the other two trees, some of which are obscured and cut off by other forms. I like how the trees’ movement is complimented by the road and pavement. This rising and falling curve from left to right, towards the viewer, is reinforced in rectangles by the walls and hedges.

The drawing works reasonably well and I’m quite pleased with the directional pencil strokes differentiating each tree’s foliage. Although the sketch is simple, and very selective, the image has a lot of potential. To make a painting from it I would have to solve some background problems and decide what to do with the crucial right area. But that’s for a little later.

In closing, I would like to point out that ‘Countdown’ is a well-known mid-afternoon TV show broadcast on C4, in which a pair of very, very clever contestants form words from the nine random consonants and vowels picked by one of them.