Part 3 – Project 1 – Exercise 3 – Study of Several Trees


Walking my familiar walk with my dog brings me to this part called Goring Greensward which is a small remnant of a forest which comes right down to the beach.   We often go there with my grandchildren.  It is very atmospheric and we call it the “magic wood”.   Again this is tamarind trees strongly shaped by wind and weather.   But if you go into the edge you enter a world of strong shadows and light.


Looking to find the right angle for the group of trees and eventually do some thumbnail sketches to establish the strong tones.   I have been reading a couple of books:-

  1. Mastering Composition – Ian Roberts – this is really useful and helping me to come to compositional decisions faster than I was.
  2. Drawing with Pencils & Pastels – Hazel Harrison – again very useful because it describes using different combination of drawing materials which I have tried in the different sketches.


Again I am drawn by the strong dramatic forms of the trunks and shadows.   Also the contrast of the light and looking out towards the sea which you can’t actually see from this view.


This was drawn on site with crayons.   I like the forms but am less convinced by how I am depicting the foliage.   It is very soft and light not leaves and not pine needles- its a hybrid!


Above is the sketch using charcoal and then pastel on watercolour paper.   This is one of the methods suggested in the drawing book.


Again a suggested method from the book:-

  • Cover the surface in oil bar
  • Define shapes with conte crayon
  • Using credit card edge push the oil bar around to help the directional qualities and to move the surface around
  • Conte stick again
  • Charcoal for definition if necessary
  • Pencil again for definition
  • White gouache for highlights (not worked here)

This is not worked on a large scale but I could see how this would be a really dynamic way of working to produce drama.   I think it works particularly wee on the trunks of the trees.


Final sample was with oil crayons which were then overworked with turps and then more drawing. With greater intensity and a greater range of colour could be another interesting method.


Had the chance to work on a very large wall with ink .  Probably 1.5 metres long. Was interested what would come out if I worked with fast expansive movement using big brushes and limited colour palette.


Started to work into the drawing with oil bars but ran out of time – may go back to this in the future.


I concentrated on trying to get the character of this one kind of tree which has a strong form rather than trying to distinguish different types.   This exercise has defined for me what interests me in this subject which apart from form is contrast and drama.

Unfortunately I did not get too interested in the foliage although it is distinctive as I have noted.  Was partly limited by the greens I have at my disposal and will rectify that in the future.

When considering light again this was not that relevant in these drawings as the main part of the tree trunks are in deep shadow.

Certainly managed to select and simplify in a way that I find satisfying.

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