This is what I’m planning for the background in my next painting. This background will be mostly dark with spots of light showing through the leaves and some light on the ground. It has big dark green leaves that are shiny in the sun. Most of the leaves are on the other side of the tree so I’ll paint those sketchy and then make the leaves on this side more defined and shaped with more leaves showing on this side than I sketched here.
Kids like to go under this tree because it could be a neat fort with more magnolias around it. They can hide in the shade and peek out.
This Southern Magnolia in today’s sketch won’t bloom till summer but the other variety of magnolia that I drew the branch of a few days ago will bloom soon. The buds are showing some red today.
I bought a 24 x 36 canvas for it. After I paint this for the background I’ll paint the early blooming magnolia branch and flowers right on top of it. I think the red and white flowers will look good on top of the darker tree.
The weather forecast is cloudy tomorrow then 3 days of rain. After I sand and gesso the canvas a couple times, I’ll tint it gray and that might dry enough for me to start on the painting at home if it rains.
A story of a turtle and a dragonfly:
I was over at the botanical garden working on this study three different days in the morning before it rained each day. I was there about two hours at a time. So, roughly six hours in this little sketch.
The second day when I got there I saw a turtle on the ground in front of the bench I sat on to take a break the day before. It had dug a little trough in the wet dirt with it’s back feet and was half sitting in this little ditch it made. I wondered if it was going to lay eggs in the hole but I thought it wasn’t a very good spot for a nest right in front of the bench where they might get stepped on. I sat on the bench and the turtle didn’t move. I watched it for a few minutes to see if it would do something but it looked like it was asleep. I hoped no kids would find it and walked around the magnolia to a place I could sketch some flowers. When I got tired of sketching I went back to the bench and saw the turtle had walked about ten feet away. Then later I couldn’t see where it went.
Today I noticed a similar small excavation in the dirt close to the same bench. I wondered if it was made by that same turtle but I didn’t see it so I went to work on my sketch. I was working on it for an hour or so and a little blue dragonfly hovered over my sketchbook which I was holding in one hand to draw on. I couldn’t not see the dragonfly. Then it landed on the sleeve of my tie dye t shirt which is the same bright blue as the dragonfly. Nice little art nouveau ornament, I thought. It stayed on my sleeve for a few minutes and I continued to sketch. Later I looked and it was gone. I wondered why it landed on me.
So, that’s today’s plain air report.
I’d like to do a painting based on this sketch but it might have to wait until next year. I have more inspiration than time this year and the day lilies are opening up so I HAVE TO DRAW THEM!