Trees and Shadows

When in the National Parks, it’s not always the grand vistas that capture my interest. Often, the small details invite me to come closer, to explore in more detail. Though you wouldn’t know it if I didn’t tell you, this is almost Yosemite. The RV was parked just outside of the park (free camping, woohoo!) and one afternoon the sun created these slashing shadows from the trees and it caught my attention. As is always the case when trying to capture natural light, I had to work fast, since the shadows were changing by the moment!

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Charcoal drawing of trees casting shadows in the forest

Abstract Watercolor Tree with Einstein Quote

Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.
Einstein

After the Isaac Newton quote in a tree, I wanted to try something a bit different. This tree pushes the process much further, creating the entire image organically rather than painting directly and then altering it a bit. Have to say, I like how it turned out.

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abstract-ish watercolor painting of tree with quote

Evergreen Tree in Triangle ink drawing

Following the Tree of Life drawing, it only seemed to make sense to build a series of geometric nature drawings. While it might be a bit obvious, the first thing that came to mind was an evergreen tree inside a triangle. However, it was still a lot of fun to draw and I’m looking forward to future projects.

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Evergreen Tree in Triangle shape

Tree of Life ink drawing

One day while perusing online sketchbooks for inspiration, I found it in a series of “Tree of Life” drawings. I’ve always found myself drawing trees, so this was a natural fit. Years ago, I started drawing these moons with the rays around them. Combining these, with the circle of the moon inside the tree and then the frame was a lot of fun.

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Willow-ish Tree in Circle shape

Sketching in Biscayne National Park

During our time in South Florida, we used a campground in the Everglades as our base and visited nearby parks. One of those was Biscayne National Park, where we spent a day exploring.

The boardwalk goes out a spit of land into the bay. At the end we could see a lot of water birds, looking for their dinner. As with so many water-centric drawings, I feel that this sketch would be drastically improved with a splash of color added… Still on the boardwalk, I had fun sketching the trail itself (though here it’s a rocky trail and not a wooden sidewalk). Ashley enjoyed the view over the water while patiently waiting for me.

Though we didn’t get to take a boat out to the Keys, we did visit while Park after Dark was being held, so we waited around until dusk for the festivities to begin. A couple hours at the picnic table resulted in this palm tree sketch.

Sketching in Congaree National Park

After wrapping up Ashley’s contract at the hospital, we headed to Congaree National Park in South Carolina. With only about 20 miles of hiking trails we only visited for two days (especially since we don’t have a canoe/boat to explore the waterways) but while there I quickly added some more sketches to the little black moleskine.

While checking out the boardwalk, we heard, and saw! three owls that were talking back and forth quite expressively. They were too far away for me to sketch, but I did get a quick sketch of the boardwalk itself, meandering through the flood plane with cypress trees (and their knees sticking up!)

This fabulous national champion Loblolly Pine was right next to the trail and I scribbled its outline in just a few moments before we continued on and I added in the bark texture and root details while walking.

Though there is no RV overnighting available, there are two tent campgrounds. We were able to snag a site for the night and leave the RV at the visitor center. Here’s a couple minute sketch of our home for the night.

While hiking out to the Congaree river, I sketched this image. The trail meandered through the flood plane, between the towering old-growth trees. During our lunch break on the river bank I added some details and shading with the marker.