For this I was to do a more detailed observation of a tree so I started with two sketches of two different Beech trees, I chose to do the study on the tree which whose roots remind me of the tentacles of an Octopus. Local children have a swing attached to a branch and have used it as a swing for years. I decided however it was the roots that I wanted to do the study on, I find them magical to look at. I used A3 Cartridge paper and it was a toss up between Charcoal, Graphite or Ink and Wash. I don’t use Ink and Wash normally, so decided I wanted to experiment with that as my medium. I started with the line and found myself wondering how to show the detail. The bark was smooth, but had blemishes and colour changes which I needed to portray. I tried to wet the tree and then apply ink with a brush. I didn’t like the effect it was too uniform. I then reapplied the line and picked up a brush full of clear water and brushed along the still wet line letting the ink spread from line to center of the trunk this worked well, but still not right. I tried lifting some of the ink with a brush to create highlights and texture, but felt I needed a more patchy effect to show the texture, so dabbed damp areas with tissue lifting away some ink. This worked well. I let the picture dry, but was still not happy, with the bark texture, so I went in again with water and made some areas quite wet, here I dropped in ink and allowed it to spread lifting it from areas I wanted to keep the highlights. This gave a really good affect. I still needed to add some lines and marks which appear like fine cracks and blemishes in the bark, I tried two method. One I dropped water into not quite dry ink and it caused the ink to feather as wanted but too much so, so I had to manipulate this with a damp brush to get the correct affect. The other way I added line and mark was to draw it in with my ink pen, and wash over it, this was done near the roots. Finally I added a couple of blotchy washes to the ground and then fine line and mark to give an impression of surface. The sky I chose to keep clear in order to give the tree the prominence and the focus I wanted. It was a dull day so I had to guess at shadow especially as the surrounding trees cut out a lot of natural light so I placed it to the back right of the tree.
I felt the texture of the tree went well and showed the blemishes and bark tone changes I was after.
What I didn’t like was the thickness of line on the roots, so if I was to do it again I would try painting shadow in with a wash rather than let it spread as I kept having to reapply the line to get the darker areas of tone I wanted.
This was a great learning curve as I have only drawn with simple line and a wash before just enough to show shadow and only on a couple of occasions. I found it reacted like using watercolour and that with careful use it can be applied in many ways to create line and tone, the manipulation of the ink from various methods such as removing ink with paper, brush or water ,can create highlights, whilst tone can be created by mark, application and manipulation. I really enjoyed using it this way and would like to practice using the medium further.