178. Winter Sunset

I took this picture awhile back in the local botanical garden.  It is an oak against the sky, with the Santa Monica range in the distance.  In the photo, the tree is silhouetted against a yellow sky, and the foreground is mottled with dried grasses.  The California oak is not deciduous, but shows leaves year round.

The process here is along the lines of yesterday’s post, and is more successful I think.  It is very simple.  The steps I took began with a wash on the entire paper (8×10) in raw sienna.  The mountains on the left were done next using a bit of sap green with the raw sienna, followed by some cobalt blue for the darker range.  After that, the lower half of the painting had a wash of a greenish color, later followed with a darker green of sap green and cobalt blue.  The tree and brush in the center were of burnt sienna and cobalt, with perhaps a bit of ultramarine as well.

That’s it.  Fairly successful in moving from light to dark, general to specific.  The simplicity of the subject matter makes it an easy painting to do – yesterday’s fig tree through the window was more complex, and accordingly more difficult.  I really wonder if I will ever successfully paint complex scenes, such as a forest and creek or a city street filled with cars, people, buildings, and whatever – rather daunting, actually.

56. Crepe Myrtle – First Leaves

Back to work with a messed up wrist . . . wasn’t bad.  After work, the sun was still out.  In our yard, we have a beautiful vase-shaped crepe myrtle tree.  It is sending out the first leaves of the season.  I sketched this at sunset, trying to catch the complex interweaving of the branches and the delicate greens of the baby leaves at the tips of the smallest branches.