Backyard Spaces

Once again, I started today with a pen and ink scribble of the back yard again.

Watercolor Sketch - Backyard Scene, Pen and Ink, Watercolor

Backyard Space
6″x4″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

Several comments about my back yard forays:

First of all, I do not feel obligated any more to reproduce the appearance of every leaf on every tree. I credit this to Paul Klee and his description of drawing as ‘taking a point for a walk’. I was playful with my pen, and mimicked the appearance of the leaves by: tight loops for the dense leaves; looser, rounded scribbles for the fig leaves; crescent-shapes for the loquot leaves.  I also wanted to separated the background from the foreground, so I painted the distant, solid fence a dark color in contrast to the picket-type of fence in the foreground.

My real interest was Arthur, my pet avocado sapling. He is doing quite well after a failed transplant. The second operation was the charm. What I am most pleased by, is his propagation of three triplet groupings of baby leaves on the same axis as this three mature leaves.

Today’s experiment:

A sense of Arthur’s space doesn’t come across in the perspective space created by my sketch above.

So I decided to abstract my backyard scene to create a different sense of space.

Watercolor Sketch - Backyard Scene Abstract Pen and Ink, Watercolor

Backyard Space – Abstract
4″x6″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block

There are two areas of interest: the three baby triplets of leaves and the alternation between the shallow and deep  spaces (the foreground fence set against the fence in the background). I chose red for the leaves in order to move them to the foreground. The blue rectangle behind the leaves was meant as a means of further pushing the leaves forward in space.

The same principle holds for the yellow stripes that border the purple ones. I intended for the yellow to come forward and the purple to recede in space.


I still don’t see the formation of three-dimensional space in my abstract of the backyard scene. Pushing and pulling (to borrow from Hans Hofmann) just isn’t there. I had a concrete idea of how I wanted use planar elements to work to make space, but I am missing something. Perhaps it is the notion of ‘plastic’, that is a large part of Hofmann’s idea of creating a sense of three dimensions on  a two dimensional canvas.



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