I wanted to explore some ideas for how I might style the trees in this painting that I’m going to do. I think I know how I’ll tackle everything else (at least I have a strategy for how I plan to attack it) but I haven’t decided on a style for the trees yet.

This was my first idea. One thing I have noticed when looking at trees is that they appear to grow in bands. If you look carefully at a tree trunk, you won’t see one cylinder. Instead, you’ll see a tangle of worms that have all grown into one another. So I thought, why not pull there curls from the Pegacorn‘s mane and tail, and the curls from the river into the trees? So I gave it a shot.

I sent this over to my brother, since the painting is for his daughter, and he said he liked it. I twisted his arm a bit and he suggested trying to work in some perspective on the curls.

That was the next thing I drew. It’s pretty terrible, but I like the idea. Instead of building the trees from twisted and merged wooden cylinders, I could go crazy, and build the tree entirely out of ribbons.

This was the result of that experiment. I really like the way that came out. It’s too busy for this painting I think, but I might try to paint a tree like that sometime later.

The little warrior princess I like a lot… who knows… maybe there will be Room for this in the full sized painting…

When I finished that, I wondered how the experiment with perspective might translate to a more traditional sketch. So, I drew a tree more realistically.

This actually came out nicely. One thing I realized is that I have such a tendency to draw “the thing” instead of drawing “the thing behind the thing.” In water color, you have to be able to keep your whites, and the same principle applies when sketching. Instead of drawing the leaves in the right hand side of the tree, I colored the sky instead. This negative sketching is the same exact thing I need to work on in my watercolor.

Yet more evidence that if I want to learn how to paint, I need to practice drawing.

Wax on… wax off…