The Sycamore Tree

Nature Walks

Here is a sycamore tree from one of my walks. Sycamore wood isn’t great for firewood, nor carving, for it is weak, however, it is a faster-growing shade tree and therefore a popular landscaping choice in some areas. This can be a problem as it frequently sheds its weak branches in storms! As unhelpful as it may be for practical purposes, I still am fascinated by the patterns you find on sycamore bark. It’s almost like camo print, and I’m sure that a camo print based off this bark would be quite effective. The tree produces a ball seed pod almost like a sweet gum tree, but the way you tell the difference is that sweet gum pods are painfully spiky whereas sycamore pods are more soft, and you can crush a sycamore pod easily in one hand.

Watercolor Landscape in Phtalo Blue 2 of 2


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This set was painted using a single tube of Phtalo Blue watercolor from my watercolor set. The paper is 140 lb cotton watercolor paper. I am really enjoying the challenge of creating an entire painting with just a single tube of watercolors. Perhaps I will try making a larger one some time in the future.

Watercolor Landscape in Phtalo Blue 1 of 2


Both this set and the set of watercolors in Yellow Ochre are based on photographs I took of the local forests and landscape. I saw a marked improvement in my art as soon as I started working from not just reference images, but reference images that I took myself or things that I have right in front of me. I think that having seen the thing in person helps give life to the art.

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Local Stream in Acrylic Ink


Again using my Speedball Acyrlic Ink and Crow Quill set, I made a drawing based off a photograph I took of a local stream. I used to do really intricate pen and ink work all the time several years ago. It was really nice to get back into it.

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I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing that acrylic ink. It has been nothing but trouble with technical issues- first the false waterproofness, and now? It smudges when I erase faint pencil lines from underneath it. I was able to save what had smudged, however, I don’t want to get more of this ink once I’ve used up what I have.

Yellow Ochre Watercolor Landscape 2 of 2


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When I make a painting using only one tube of color, I’ve found that I have about 4 or 5 layers of color. The first is a very faint wash for the whole background, which I may or may not blot off portions of with a rag or paper towel to make a cloud effect. Then is a barely-more-saturated background layer. Next is one or two medium-saturated layers of middle ground. Finally, I have the foreground, which is with undiluted or barely diluted paint right from the tube.

Yellow Ochre Watercolor Landscape 1 of 2


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This set of watercolors was completed with a tube of yellow ochre watercolor on 140 lb cotton watercolor paper. This project is another iteration of using a single tube of color to create an entire composition. I am starting to get a better understanding of how to use different amounts of water to create different saturations of color. This is a fun, but slightly tricky project, as if you get the saturations wrong, you very quickly find yourself with a blotchy page of undefined color (especially since there is only one color to start with!)


Galaxy Behind Pine Trees on a Hill in Oil Paints


This was a really fun project. It’s another idea I found while looking at painting techniques- basically, you take oil or acrylic, then layer several dark colors in the background as a nebula in the night sky, then sponge or brush crudely some lighter color or white to make atmospheric clouds closer to where the ground would be. After that, you paint in stars. The foreground is painted in flat black, and then backlight is added in any lighter color. My take on this idea uses pine trees, as I think they make a very nice silhouette.

I have a small set of oil paints that I’ve had for several years. I took the opportunity to practice with them on a small, 6 inch by 8 inch (15 cm x 20 cm) premade canvas I also already had laying around. It reminds me of some of the art I made in school, using thick paint over a black background to create a lot of contrast (though this is kind of the opposite). I have a ways to go to improve myself, and I hope to incorporate some of the things I’ve learned or remembered from this project into my future art.

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Forest Using a Single Watercolor Tube: 4 of 4


This is the fourth and final landscape in a series of 4 watercolors using only one tube of watercolor.

This project was beneficial to me. I got to see myself improve, even over just 4 pieces! (plus a fifth one that didn’t make the cut.) I have ideas on how I can work this technique into my art in the future, and I got back into using color in my art, something I’ve been struggling with for several years. Overall, I’d consider this project a success.P1030002 - Copy.JPG