'I imagine your love....' contemporary charcoal tree art
Process of my recent charcoal and watercolour drawing from life
"I imagine your love To be like the taste Of wild, wild berries.." (Lynn Greyling) A beautiful poem that sums it all up. I've been keen to get into drawing trees. I spent alot of last winter drawing bits of trees - cones, branches, teasels, holly etc. I feel the time is right to tackle the full model. Reading an article on the painting of trees, it did even more to ignite my wish to complete a tree portrait. Looking up immediately after reading the article my eyes rested mindfully on this lovely bush just outside my studio window. Passing it several times a day I feel embarrassed that I had not noticed how beautiful it was. A week before Valentine's Day it was probably that influence that had me seeing a heart shaped loop in it's branches........ I wanted to extract the shrub from its environment and draw it exclusively on white paper. It is worked in various types of charcoal - charcoal dust, Nitram charcoal sticks, willow charcoal and charcoal pencils. Watercolour is added for the berries... The challenge of dealing with all those tangles was amazing. At times I couldn't see the 'wood for the trees'. Initially I'd taken a whole load of photographs which were indeed useful but in the end moving my easel so I facing the shrub and drawing it from life was the best option. We are constantly told that a camera flattens an image, this was certainly true in this case, branches that were visibly weaving their way towards me looked completely flat in the photo. A good lesson reminder for me..... The decision to paint the berries with watercolour was in interesting thought process. When you look at the shrub in life it is indeed the red berries that are what strikes you at first, but in my rendition it's the twisted curling loops of the branches that are the most striking. This wasn't intentional, I had always intended to paint the berries but decided to mute them to darker bluer reds and not represent the sheer volume that is on the shrub itself - artistic licence indeed!