The hawthorn tree is in the top corner of a steeply sloped field, right next to a public footpath and the kissing gate that admits walkers. It’s a venerable tree, and I would guess, from its appearance and poistion, that it was once part of a hedge, since replaced with wire fencing.
Last October, I scrambled up from the footpath to sit between the tree and the fence. From this snug position, I was looking down at the tree and its extensive network of roots that anchor it to the hillside. I made a quick pencil sketch and took several photographs while I was there, including one of the sketch itself:
The ink drawing focuses on the shapes and textures of the tree’s stems and branches, which I have rendered in monochrome. There’s an awful lot going on there, and in order for it to make sense, I knew that I would have to omit, simplify or otherwise modify the background. I much prefer to draw a tree in the context of its background – I think of myself more of a landscape artist than a botanical artist – and so I decided to use colour as my modification. I decided to use the blue-green of the ivy to link the leaves in foreground with the receeding background vegetation, which shifted the palette towards a rather ethereal blue.
Pigment inks on kaolin coated board
12 x 16 inches (panel),
framed to 34 x 44 cm (black wood tray frame)
Hawthorn Reverie has been exhibited at the Society of Graphic Fine Artists’ 102nd Open Exhibition, at the Mall Galleries in London, March 2023.
It sold at INSIGHT, the Open Studios flagship exhibition, at The Base, Greenham, 6 – 29 May 2023.