Happy spring (or autumn if you’re on the other side of the world)! Despite it being a rainy, grey day here, perfect for spending indoors in jammies (which I did since I was a bit under the weather) spring has definitely arrived in the Bay Area with blossoming trees and green things sprouting everywhere.
Out walking in Berkeley on a Sunday morning in a nice neighborhood, I spotted a beautiful flowering tree between two homes. I was debating with my walking buddy whether to knock on the door and ask if I could take a cutting to sketch and paint from. He thought not, since people might still be sleeping, and suggested I take a photo. But I wanted to draw from the real thing. I was trying to figure out which house actually owned the tree and he was trying to figure out how to get me to keep walking.
Just then I heard people chatting, coming towards us on the sidewalk from around the corner. It was the homeowners who’d also been out for a walk. I asked if I could take a branch to paint and they said yes. This is the first of several pieces (two oil paintings and another sketch) I created from their branch.
I wish I’d thought to take their address so I could send a thank you card with the image on it. Maybe my friend will remember what street we were on since he chose our route.
This is the full 2-page spread in the giant Moleskine Watercolor A4 sketchbook I’m using now. It’s 8.5 x 23 inches when opened so rather unwieldy when sketching outside the studio but I’m enjoying it anyway. I drew directly with a sepia Sakura Micron Pigma Pen and then painted with watercolor and a bit of gouache.
I used gouache for the background on this sketch because I wanted a fairly smooth/flat background which I couldn’t get with watercolor because of the way the paper buckles and doesn’t lie flat because of the seam. My favorite part is the enlarged pure watercolor blossoms in the white circle on the left hand side, visible if you click and then click again on the top image. I’m craving some “real” watercolor painting on good paper.