Friday, May 29, 2009

Full Circle: Lovely as a Tree

(Note: Click on an image for a larger view)
The card featured here was the prototype for a birthday card for my daughter's friend, someone whom she describes as a "tree lover" so she wanted the focal image of the card to be that of a tree. She had seen and liked several tree sketches I had done with oil pastels on the paper I use to protect my worktable. I had been testing several different packs of pastels to determine their viability so I just used the paper that was in front of me. They were only "throw-away" sketches to me (see below) but she liked them enough to "commission" me to draw a tree for her friend's card.

I created the tree on white vellum using Prismacolor fine line markers for the trunk and branches and Sakura Cray-Pas for the leaves, blending the leaf colors with a small wad of paper toweling barely dampened with mineral spirits. I was going to leave it at that but the tree seemed to beg for more surroundings. I started by simply filling in the foreground with regular Prismacolor markers to create the grass, adding details with the fine point markers. Before I knew it, I had created this entire country scene complete with barbed wire fencing and tiny little wildflowers. I added background details with colored pencils and used oil pastels on the back side of the vellum to create a soft sky and clouds. Drawing on the back side softens the effect of the color and also prevents smearing of or blending with the leaves of the tree. (Click on the pictures to see a larger image.)

When I was done I realized that I had combined many of the traditional materials and techniques I had been taught as an art student years ago with the materials and techniques I have recently learned as a papercrafter. It was a very gratifying experience and I was quite pleased with the outcome. Not so, apparently, for my daughter. She loved the scene but said it was not what she wanted for her friend. She wanted the rough draft tree she had seen on my workshop table. So be it. I recreated the rough tree on another card. She put the finishing touches on it and gave it to her friend at school. She reported that he loved his tree card. Although I was initially disappointed that my scene was not to my daughter's liking, it actually turned out to be to my advantage. Now I get to keep the card that was so gratifying to make and draw further inspiration from it.

My present avocation is bringing me right back around to my past training. This grounds me, makes me feel more secure. Life, when it works, truly is a circle.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

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