This sketch was done in two sessions starting as usual from the back and painting/sketching towards the foreground. Each state of the sketch could be seen as a kind of under painting for the next stage.
The sequence of images below documents some of the intermediate states of this sketch and the way it developed. Gouache is very suitable to work in colour layers, with a wet brush layers can be connected, with strongly thinned colour subtle colour changes can be achieved,
As the gouache is an opaque medium one can work from light to dark and back.
There are windy days, the wind howls up in the trees. I have walked to the very edge of the village district. Looking through the trees I can see some orchards down hill and in the far distance the next bigger city in front of hazy blue background hills.
Flies and crickets inspected my sketch. Interesting to see how they take place on a suitable background colour that supports their camouflage.
oak trunk detail, gouache dry bristle brush technique
The end of summer has come with some hot days, but autumn is near. The sound of falling acorns can be heard everywhere and the cobwebs glisten in the evening sun.
The growth of foliage on trees, undergrowth and grass is at its peak now. Each and every patch of soil seems to have done it’s job for this year. The clear transparent order of bare trunks and branches in winter has made place for a veritable jungle in green.
I try to do my sketches only with a minimal plan and prefer to play with the colours and forms as I find them. Not much thought about composition is necessary in the forest, also it is easy to neglect and change elements of the scenery.
I just put in patches of colours creating a pattern that finally weaves an image of a forest.The sketch is what has been there, but it is not a copy.
My thoughts go to poetry I am reading : John Burnside an English,German volume of poems called “an attempt about light”. I snatched a signed copy in one of the most “beautiful european bookshops”. Burnside is a remarkable author who evokes images and resonances from unknown places inside and yet unfolds his view of the world. I wonder whether his poems are realistic, more realistic than that what we see?
We are approaching the most boring time in the year from my perspective now. At the peak of summer there are not many colors in the landscape, all the different greens have changed to almost the same dull, saturated green.
There is not much light under the tree tops left. When I walk with my camera I find shutter speeds of 1/60 or less, which means that there is less light than indoors.
Somehow the greenish light filter of the leaves creeped into this sketch. Temperatures were fairly low in the morning, but then with the sun came the flies too.
I prepared the under painting with lots of colour splashes. The paper got so wet that it broke when I had to lift the page a bit.
I put a piece of fleece under the left page to protect the previous sketch. The water gets through on the backside of the page and might ruin the previous sketch.
A piece of beautiful blue sky framed by some beech trees caught my attention, made me stop and do a gouache sketch. I really enjoy the beginning of these sketches when everything is a possibility and the colours can be dropped and splashed around.
This is a quiet forest path, people rarely walk here. The birds were very active on this morning. Young woodpeckers made such a noise that I had to choose another place. I regret that I was not able to catch the vivid contrasts of light and shadows in and under the canopy of the trees.
The sky was covered by moving clouds and the light changed constantly and so did the sunlit areas and shadows… not too bad an excuse isn’t it?
I have documented only one intermediate state,which shows the chaotic background foliage before the image was structured by the vertical trunks.