Dry Brush Watercolor Study of a Pine Tree in Star Harbor, Texas

Star Harbor Pine

On the first night of my three-day weekend, I found sleep very difficult.  So, today I’m fatigued, though I did make the two-hour drive south into Star Harbor to meet two leaders of the watercolor society there: Judy Ellis and Rosalie Babler.  We had a nice meeting, and they then took me around Star Harbor and Malakoff to scout potential plein air sites to take our workshop participants to next week when we do our two-day plein air workshop.  The facility where this society meets is extraordinary–connected to City Hall.  I am inside there now, blogging this post.

After a brief lunch following our excursion, I found myself quite sleepy from last night’s aborted rest and today’s drive (still have the return ahead of me).  So instead of embarking on a full-bore plein air painting, I decided to settle on a tree that still vexes me to this day–the pine.  There is a beautiful golf course adjoining City Hall, and a majestic row of pines.  So, I selected the closest one and did this posted drybrush sketch of it.  I find if challenging, trying to capture the texture and reddish coloration on the tree bark, as well as the particular color and general directional flow of the clusters of pine needles.  I’ve also always found the twisting, curling limbs fascinating to view.  So, I tried my hand at all three of these, combining Winsor and Newton pigments, various water-soluble graphite pencils and the X-acto knife.  Some of this I like, the rest of it I could do without.  It’s going to take me a long time, I fear, to capture the essence of the pine.  But, fatigue notwithstanding, I did very much enjoy focusing on this one tree.

Funny connection–all the while I worked on this pine study, I thought of Andrew Wyeth and his masterful drybrush renderings of pine trees.  And thoughts of him led my mind to Laura Hartman, a delightful former student of mine (from back in the mid-90’s) who now works for DuPont, learning the craft of art preservation.  She has seen many of Wyeth’s works up close and personal, from the conservationist standpoint.  Just as I was finishing up this piece, I got a message from her on Facebook.  Funny that she saw my post and commented.

Thanks for reading, especially you, Laura!

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