Sunday, 13 January 2013

Silver Birch

Silver Birch
(Based on Geoff Kersey's Trees, Woodlands and Forests)
Watercolour on Paper
11cm x 16.5cm (4.25" x 6.5")

This is my version of another demonstration from Geoff Kersey's programmes about “Trees, Woodlands and Forests” on The Painting and Drawing Channel.

I have being using Geoff’s demonstrations from these programmes as warm ups at the start of each painting session (see Warming Up and Scratching and Scraping). They are ideal for this purpose because they are small vignettes rather than full-blown paintings.

The challenge in this picture is to make the tree trunk look solid and cylindrical. It is an exercise in modelling. The solution is to decide where the sun is relative to the tree. In this picture, it is to the left. The side of the tree facing towards the sun is practically white and the trunk becomes darker as it curves away from the direct sunlight.

The background is a simple wet in to wet wash of different greens. When the background was dry, Geoff wet the whole of the tree trunk with clean water. He added a pale purple mixture to the middle and right hand side of the trunk. While this was wet, he added some blotches of browny orange to the right of the middle and some dark brown at the extreme right hand edge. These colours merge and mingle to give a gradual darkening from left to right, which reads as the change from light to shadow on a cylinder. (I should have put a shadow on the ground to emphasise the direction of the sun).

Geoff finished the picture by adding the distinctive black rings to the bark of the tree. These curved lines help to accentuate the cylindrical effect. It is important to remember that the marks below eyelevel appear to curve downwards from the edge and the marks above eyelevel appear to curve up.

Cross-sections of a Cylinder

Before I started the Natural Way to Draw, I had to think about this sort of thing. Now I have done so much modelled drawing, it is second nature.

Geoff used dry brush marks to indicate the rings. He let the brush skate on the rough paper to create broken marks. This is something I didn’t get right in this picture and which I’ve been practicing since.

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