They’re He-e-e-r-e

The Chicago family arrived last night, safe and sound; still awaiting the LA contingent, who should be here in a matter of hours.

Remember I talked about blemishes the other day? Amazingly, I had no thoughts of that today. Sidra and William are just as perfect as I remembered them to be and as I imagined they would be. This time, however, William can walk! Of course that means he will be in training for the famous ‘running hug’.  I taught that to my second cousin nearly 2o years ago, to my niece and nephew 18 and 16 years ago, respectively. I get to start over with William. At least he can’t run me over…  at the moment.

The blemish-free experience has crept into my photography. The leaf below caught my attention during our outing this morning, finalizing the design specs for William’s first birthday cake.

Perfect-looking leaf on the side of a building

It was shiny and bright, just like the beautiful day we had here. I found it on the side of the building. I forgot to see if it was a tree or a vine. It looked a little too waxy to be a tree leaf, even though it reminded me of the foliage of a maple.

Today’s experiment

Unlike the perfect-looking leaf, my watercolor leaves (no pun intended) a lot to be desired. I think I may have overstepped by attempting to provide a semi-contrasty background. I probably should have left well enough alone, and settled for the leaf alone.

Watercolor Sketch - Los Gatos Leaf

Los Gatos Leaf
9″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

What to do differently…

If I were to re-do this sketch, I would concentrate on the details of the vein structure, which is probably what attracted me to this leaf in the first place. I might consider a pen and ink under-drawing. The only problem is, if you look at the photograph, the veins are yellowish and the area around them are what defines the space. In other words, it looks like a quilt. Any pen and inking would have to be accompanied by shading that would lift the space defined by the veins that enclose that area.

Another tack would be to find another way to represent the shading as seen from afar. One could, recreate the leaf by squinting one’s eyes as one painted. There would be loss of detail, but the integrity of the overall effect of this leaf in the sunshine would be maintained.

Tomorrow – Sidra and I paint rocks…

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