When Work is Done
Our list was long last weekend: paint the back porch railing, fix windowsills, repair broken glazing, prime bare trim, rake leaves, mow the lawn, mulch the gardens, brush hog the field edge, clean out the gutter, mount the rain diverter…you get the idea. It was a beautiful fall three-day weekend, perfect for a hike or bike ride, or for getting stuff done. That’s why you didn’t see a blog post and I didn’t pick up my sketchbook until the sun was sinking low on Monday afternoon. I went to a local conservation area, where the recently mown meadow glowed in the late-day light. In the margins that escaped the reaper, I was drawn to milkweed pods, now split open and brittle, their work done too, casting seeds on the breeze.
Tips and Techniques– I’m sure I’ve said this before, but don’t overlook the small stuff. There are so many times when just looking at a single plant proves fascinating. I sketched the milkweed directly in ink with a Micron 02 pen and then added a couple of watercolor washes of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and cobalt blue. I used a bit of ultramarine, alizarin crimson, and burnt umber for the darkest shadows, stems, and seeds. Sometimes keeping the palette and the subject simple are what make the difference between completing a page or not.