using sketchbooks continued :) : looking at trees

Trees are one of the recurring themes in my work, as part of a wider landscape and studies of individual trees.

The sketches on the left were done in a local country park. The trees were absolutely covered in eyes and the more I looked the more there were. I'm not certain but looking at them I think it's where the deer or rabbits had nibbled a branch and they are the scar that was left. I wasn't interested in background or context, I was just fascinated by these recurring eyes and it's simply a sketch investigating them.

This was done with Caran d'Ache neocolour II, watersoluble waxy crayons in an A4 sketchbook.

The piece below was done some time later, playing with monoprinting on hand made paper, looking at this and other sketches of bark - I decided too many distinct eyes was offputting in a 'final' piece as it had quite an uncomfortable feeling :) so this was from imagination, based on a number of sources. It's about 8 inches tall. There are more of these on my website and in my sketchbook site

The straight slimness of birches and the beautiful texture, colour and pattern in their bark interested me, so different from other trees with more gnarled branches. Some had beautiful apricot coloured areas and I played on this idea with some watercolour studies, with a few touches of coloured pencil.

Edges, as I've said before, interest me - the edges of woods as they thin out into fields and below is a watercolour study of mixed local woodland, again the pattern of the bark and the different shapes of trees interested me. There are a few touches of pastel in this as well. It's about 10 inches square on cartridge paper.

and again I played with monoprinting, this is the 'ghost print', a second print taken with only a little colour left on the plate, I then worked on it with coloured pencils. Different media bring out different possibilities and different 'language' to use. I love printmaking and the moment when you peel the print off the printing plate to see what you've got - it's like watercolour with it's own unpredictable idiosyncracies popping up and lovely 'accidents'.

These and lots of other sketches led into some final paintings that moved on and abstracted from them.
This long thin painting on canvas in mixed media is somewhere around 42 inches tall - I forget the exact measurement and it's in a show at the moment so I can't check.
The last images shows a collection of canvasses that evolved from the sketches, none of them direct reproductions but moving on, using the knowledge gained to create something new.
There are more finished works on my website


Katherine said…
Oh I'm so glad you've written about you get your trees from sketchbooks to gallery! This a wonderful post.

Especially as you have been tagged by me - and now need to share with us seven things most of us don't know about you (if you care to play along!) See my blog 11.05.07. for more details
vivien said…
thank you! this is fun :) I have to choose just 7 oh dear!

mmm - 7 facts? thinking hard ....
Lindsay said…
Vivien, I'm blown away by your wonderful work. Thanks for sharing your process here and your 7 new things about you. I love visiting and I'm learning so much from you.
vivien said…
Lindsay thank you < blush >
bridgette said…
wow! your trees are absolutely beautiful!!

Thanks for tagging me and listing my blog on your post. I will do the same. It will be hard to pick just 7 though!
vivien said…
Great Bridgette, and thank you :) - I look forward to seeing your 7 - yes it IS hard to limit them I agree.
I love trees too and your artwork here is wonderful, you've really captured the beautiful patterns and impressions of the tree trunks.
vivien said…
thank you crafty green poet :)
drb said…
Came to your site by way of The Itinerant Artist blog.

I like how you have abstracted the trees -- I draw a lot of trees, usually too literally. So thanks.
vivien said…
drb - Diane is good, I follow her blog as well :)

and thank you

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