Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fractal Season

New Year's Eve was a clear, nearly-sunny day in Portland. We went for a long walk in Washington Park, and I couldn't keep from admiring all the amazing patterns in the bare tree branches. Fractals, fractals, everywhere! "I love it when trees do the math for me," I declared aloud as we squelched down the muddy trails.
Japanese Garden sketch
 When we wandered through the Portland Japanese Garden, at one point I sat down and tried to capture an impression of the branches, the balance, the lovely asymmetry. It's just a simple sketch, but it did get my eye better-tuned to looking at those branch patterns.

Chinese Garden sketch
New Year's Day saw us out exploring town in the sunshine again. The Lan Su Chinese Garden was closed for the holiday, but I enjoyed sitting on a sunny bench in the entry plaza, using a tube of watercolor to sketch a fabulously eroded rock with--you guessed it--a fancy pattern of bare branches behind it.
I omitted Bill's wheelbarrow here. Gotta pick your battles sometimes.

On January 7, I met up with Urban Sketchers Portland to have a group doodling-party at a member's art studio. The shed in the yard was framed by bare tree branches, and I tried combining ink and watercolor to establish a foreground/background effect. And, as you can see, I'm starting to tackle more and more complex branch patterns. It's still very sparse compared to the detail on the real trees, of course. (See more sketches from Jan 7.)

Now, as you can tell by my weird self-portaits-while-peeking-out-from-behind-the-sketchbook, I'm having some scanner issues nowadays.We recently moved, and have not yet discovered which box holds the oh-so-precious power cord to my lovely, lovely scanner. This has me in quite a tizzy, but it's good to play with options on how to frame one's images from a sketchbook, right?

I've treated myself to a membership at the Independent Publishing Resource Center, partly so I can use their scanners until I get my own up and running again. While most of my scans on January 7 turned out fine, the scanner did have a few moments of adding random crazy orange stripes to the page.
Oh, IPRC scanner. I think these orange stripes are signs of Yeti meddling.
While this makes me flinch in a lot of ways, it also reminds me of the work of Deb Rossi, who adds big "colorblocks" of watercolor over the top of her ink sketches. Maybe the scanner artifacts are a way to start exploring that sketching approach?
It would be prettier with real watercolor, rather than Photoshop.

Hmmmm. That's the joy of sketching in groups (and wrestling with persnickety equipment)--you can find yourself exploring all new ideas.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for cross posting one more time from LJ. I was missing your sketches.