It is too tempting to pass up. When I go get my morning coffee, the light is just right on the fig tree. The branches are dark and it seems that the yellow green leaves are just suspended, radiating their own light instead of reflecting it from the early morning sun.
As I have done for the past few days, I use my pencil to draw the fig branches on my little watercolor pad while sitting on the porch. This is much better than drawing from a photograph or even better than drawing Arthur, my pet avocado tree from life. With Arthur, I am so close that I have to move my head to get the correct focus. My bifocals don’t allow me focus at the proper drawing distance. It is very annoying.
However, drawing the tree branches is much more satisfying. I get a sense of the relationship between the branches and the trunk, the angles between branchlets, the positions of suspended leaves in the foreground and the placement of the distant trees in the background. It is a very absorbing pastime, although I did have to stand up once or twice to draw the entire tree trunk. In real life, there was a fence in the way.
After my pencil lines are in place, I draw over them with my fine-tip ink pen. When that is all done, I erase the pencil sketch and all the smudges that appeared during the process.
I started coloring the sky first, using a rolled tip of paper towel to blot up the color from within the leaves. I used the same technique to put in clouds. The fence and tree trunk were straight forward coloring, but the background foliage was a problem. I wanted the fig leaves to be luminous, as they were in real life but it seemed that no matter what I did this was not going to happen. I thought that maybe the dark green against the lighter yellow of the foreground leaves would make them pop. Or that a complementary color (purple for yellow and red for green) would have the same effect. I ended up doing a little bit of everything, but I think a general darkening of the background tree foliage did the most.
I am sure that this problem has been resolved by some artists. I would like to see how they did it. I am almost ready to cut out the yellow leaves and put a light bulb behind it.