Like a root.

29 April, 2019.

It’s a blustery day, and for the moment warm. But clouds are predicted to march in on these terrific gusts of wind and the temperature drop quickly this afternoon. The dog and I walk along a mountain bike trail, following a meandering track through dense wood, up hill and down dale. The trees surround us like a loose sweater, providing a shield from the growing squall. Overhead, the boughs are swaying though, and every now and again there is a sharp snap!as a large limb breaks, then tumbles, smashing its noisy way through lesser appendages to the ground.

Stopping to study and admire a particularly mad tree, I pondered how I might go about making a sketch. Like people, every tree has it’s own unique personality. Whereto begin a drawing of a tree is a decision fraught with choice – in fact, the starting point is seldom a random one for me. The process is a lot like a road map, branches tracing a route stretching away from home. And it occurs to me – not for the first time, either – that a tree often looks like an upside-down root system. 

This particular tree is wild and uncontrolled, frenzied arms stretch out frenetically. There is nothing symmetrical about the chaos, and yet, after all, there actually is

_____________
Fude bent nib fountain pen and Uni-Ball Vision pen in Stillman and Birn sketchbook.

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11 comments

  1. Nadine · April 29

    My husband once told me the roots spread as far as the branches, so yes, symmetry. I love your sketch!

    • azorch · April 29

      I quite like that turn of phrase.

  2. Michael Gallagher · April 29

    Great sketch.

    • azorch · April 29

      I appreciate the comment, Michael.

  3. John Hofman · April 29

    This is great.
    How do you do it? Is it black ink background on white paper with a white gel over the black ink or visa versa?
    Thank you!

    • azorch · April 29

      Although I sometimes use Stillman and Birn Nova series paper in gray, this was done in a Stillman and Birn Beta Series with 270 gsm white paper. The pens I used are a Uni-Ball vision and a bent nib (or “Fude” tip) fountain pen – the Duke 551Confucius. The Duke is a favorite when I want a lot of variety between thick and thin lines. And while I prefer to use it on the paper in the Canson 180 sketchbooks it does work especially well in situations like this, where I “drag” the side of the nib to create a broken line effect.

  4. Hummingbird · May 1

    I so love trees! And i love that picture. Seems i am always saying i love something. But really…..so love this post. Trees hanging loose like a sweater? Brilliant. There is nothing not too love in this post. 🙂

    • azorch · May 1

      I spent some time in Arizona a few years ago. I’m a creature of the green, and the one thing that truly stuck in my mind on my return was how much I had missed the trees during my absence.

      • Hummingbird · May 1

        I am a creature of green as well. I spent some time in a few states. Kansas, Florida, California….I loved always coming home to Washington State. 🙂 Been to Hawaii to vacation, those trees have a wow factor!

      • azorch · May 1

        Yeah, I get it. I lived in Alaska for a few years. Same kind of wow factor.

      • Hummingbird · May 1

        Alaska. Yes, a chilly wow :D. Would love to go.

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