part three: expanse project one: trees

exercise two: larger observational study of individual tree

Again hampered by winter. Freezing, dark by 5. I had to find a tree to draw from inside and the second floor view of this mutated plane tree was my best option.

As always I had something in mind and it hasn’t quite gone to plan. As always I’m thinking that if I had more time I wouldn’t feel I needed a plan, I could just investigate. As always I realise that is completely flawed thinking! I should start out investigating, rather than trying to come up with a complete drawing.


This is a tight crop from my drawing before I started to mess with it and I’m happy with it. The bark is still quite young and in beautiful delicate colours; silver, pale green. It peels away in patches, though in areas where branches extend out there is more scarring, the bark cracking and rippling. I feel I’ve got some of this across.


The whole however doesn’t work, there is nothing tree about this tree. I darkened the background, hoping to solidify it. This just had the effect of flattening it further so I rubbed it out again (above). The light was quite flat, a weak and low winter sun coming around behind the tree, leaving very little contrast.

I’m not really sure if I can fix it. Zooming in I like the detail, I think it captures the bark, but I think that if I want to add solidity to the tree through tone, I’ll lose the delicate marks of the bark. In reality the tree did look flat, no shadows, it was essentially silhouetted against the weak light.

I’m wondering if I should have used ink. But there is something about these colours and the grey pencil that I like. Maybe darker wash to add tone with darker pencil markings?

I might come back to it, I might not. I’m loathe to blame the tree, but I’m finding it hard to find the love. It’s behind a wall, never in the light, it’s been badly lopped, it’s diseased.

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