The first sketch is from that May visit, after a passing rain shower. The rain sharpened the colors, it seemed, and made the foliage glow more green than usual. Wild palms clustered along the walking path at the edge of the jungle. I drew the scene lightly in pencil in my 3.5x5 sketchbook, dropped in a variety of green hues, let it dry and inked the details. The quiet of the neighborhood is enhanced by the jungle barrier, so that all one hears most of the time is the wind, and this sketch always reminds me of those moments.
|"Sun on the Jungle"|
Sketching the conservation area was a significant challenge that I put off for several days, but eventually tackled (above) one afternoon as the sun slanted into the foliage. Attempting to capture the exceptionally tangled and varied trees and undergrowth was daunting because of the temptation to render nearly every leaf. It is more effective to treat trees and undergrowth as if composed of big irregular masses. I used a page in my 5.5x9 inch sketchpad previously toned with a pale red wash of acrylic gouache. Because of the acrylic vehicle watercolor tends to stick unevenly, beading up and giving a sparkling effect. Here I drew the jungle in pencil then painted several layers of watercolor over the gouache, leaving significant areas of the red ground to show through. The underpainting is roughly complementary to the overlying greenery, which adds depth. I added details here and there using paint and ink, sketched in the couple walking their dog and made them pop out with spots of red and blue. In spite of a big snowstorm in the north, it was about eighty degrees that day.
|"Strutting With the Dog"|
Warm colors and sunny scenes can help light up these dreary days of December. They certainly help me.