Friday, March 02, 2018

Sketching Druid Hill Creek

This watercolor sketch project began a few weeks back, and I posted a couple of them already. The thing is, the creek has become a continuing subject. One morning around sunup the creek that runs past my studio caught a gleam from the sky, a silvery thread that lightened and opened as the light penetrated the surrounding woods. As a subject, the creek is ideal for me. It's just outside my window and always available. It has woods and stones and all sorts of undergrowth. The wild honeysuckle along the banks turn yellow-green in spring as their drooping canes leaf out.

So because it's such a close motif, simple yet changeable, seasonal but eternal, this spring will partly involve sketching the creek as the seasons change. Here are several early sketches.

This is the first of the project, done in about an hour or so on February 4, just before a predicted snowstorm. The grasses and some of the distant trees either catch sunlight or are the usual dry yellow-brown of late winter. The creek catches the color of the sky.

The next day was bitterly cold after a cold front passage that left several inches of snow on the ground. The sky changed color somewhat, and everything got very pale. The creek froze and filled with the powdery snow that falls when the air is so cold. This sketch ran across the fold of my sketchbook as I tried to catch the blue shadows.

The snow settled in for a few days but at least there was sunshine. And in the sun you could see (somehow) that spring must be inevitable. The light became more yellow and the shadows turned a darker blue. The snow remained, though already shed by branches and twigs. The cold seemed to enter the bones, but spring was at least a promise.

Over the next several weeks I'm going to continue sketching the creek, which I've named Druid Hill Creek since that's the street name of the studio. As the seasons progress my plan is to capture the changes in the pages of a dedicated sketchbook. When it's filled, I'll stop.

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