Now as soon as the subject for a sketch is selected and the materials prepared, make yourself as comfortable as circumstances permit, in order to have your attention free for the task at hand. In this connection another suggestion may prove worth mentioning and this is that a newspaper or magazine makes a fairly comfortable seat on the ground or on some stone or log or wall, if no better one is available.
Figure 44. Additional Studies from Nature and Suggestions for the Uses of Trees in Conjunction with Architecture.
When all is in readiness, proceed with your sketch, blocking in the main proportions lightly, indicating also the lines of the trunk and principal branches. Observation will prove that the contour of a tree is seldom as round as we sometimes imagine, in fact the general mass of most trees can be bounded by an outline made up largely or wholly of straight strokes. When starting a sketch remember this truth. Then, once this outline and the main subdivisions have been quite definitely established, begin the shading, considering carefully the direction of the light, studying the subject through partly closed eyes in order to eliminate the less essential values, remembering the impossibility of drawing every leaf and twig. Some foliage masses seem very sharp and clean-cut against the sky while others soften gradually into the surroundings, so it is necessary to choose the type of line best suited to the conditions at hand. This choice depends partly on the individuality of the artist and the time available but mainly on the characteristics of the foliage itself. The line which would nicely suggest the leafage of the willow might fail, for instance, to represent the individuality of the pine. The sketches at "1" at the top of Figure 42 show a number of ways of building up foliage tone, while at "5" sketches "B," "C," "D" and "E" show different methods of representing similar masses. This variety of strokes should make it plain to the student that there is no set manner of working. Consequently sketch the objects before you in what seems the most natural way, and if the results are not satisfactory try again using some other kind of strokes. The type of line employed is of less importance than are the values themselves, for if these are carefully worked out the tree will seem properly modelled to give a sense of depth and projection. Use care, too, in suggesting the roundness of the branches and trunk, noting the great difference in the tone of the bark in sunshine and in shade. The shadows cast by the various branches on one another are worthy of special attention as are also those cast by each tree on the ground and on surrounding trees or buildings, in fact, so far as architectural purposes are concerned, it is most essential to be familiar with tree shadows as they appear when falling on the walls or roofs of buildings and on the lawns and sidewalks.
Because of the many difficulties encountered when drawing entire trees it is often well to sketch first of all certain portions only, making studies somewhat similar to "2," "3" and "5A," Figure 42. After a number of these have been done it is time to attempt complete single trees such as those on Figure 43, adding a bit of the surroundings if you choose. Later try groups of two or more trees, as indicated at "1," Figure 44. This sort of work is most important, but neither should hedges and bushes and grass be neglected, so make some studies similar to "2A," Figure 44, and even some of rocks and ledges such as those at "2" and "5F," Figure 42, and "2B," Figure 44, for though these cannot be classified under the term "foliage" they can be studied to advantage at this time. It is not enough to sketch nearby trees, but those in the distance should be done as well. Sketch 3, Figure 44, showing the simplicity which is often found in far away foliage. It is sometimes advisable to draw the same tree from both near at hand and from the distance, and it is also beneficial to sketch it at different seasons of the year, for it is in the winter when the leaves are gone that the best opportunity is presented for studying the tree "skeleton." If the winter proves too cold for outdoor work several photographs might be taken to be sketched later, - the first when the limbs are bare and others in the spring, showing the leafage at various stages in its development. During all of this study and sketching try to memorize the leading characteristics, for by so doing you will build a firm foundation for future memory work. It might be well, in closing, to point out the desirability of preserving all such sketches, for no matter how incomplete or imperfect they may seem, when foliage is required in later renderings they will offer many suggestions of great value, for the only real difference between the work from nature and that done in architectural renderings is that in the case of the latter the foliage is made rather inconspicuous and is also in many cases given a more conventional handling.
At "4," Figure 44, are shown six "thumb nail" sketches of the same house done from the imagination, each with a distinctive foliage treatment. These show only a few of numerous possible schemes which could be devised by the student to meet similar conditions, but in order to successfully develop any of them at large scale the kind of knowledge gained from outdoor work would be of great help.
It is suggested that the reader study at this time the various drawings of trees which are found from place to place in this volume, and especially the masterly outdoor sketches by Mr. Hermann on pages 150, 154 and 155, which are excellent examples of studies made directly from nature.
Pencil Sketch By M. R. Hermann.
Pencil Sketch By M. R. Hermann.