Certain subjects draw my attention naturally. Horses in a field. Dramatic skies. Interesting cloud formations.

The oddities of tree trunks and branches.

Since first noticing such an oddity this summer, I’ve become aware of more and more quirks and curiosities in the trees in our own back yard and around the neighborhood. I’m not sure what the source is, but there are a lot of trees with cavities and scars at the base.

Cooling weather and wet conditions (including the first snow of the season) kept me from doing a lot of sketching in October. But I did find interesting subjects.

The same subject is featured in both of the following sketches.

The first sketch shows one of the aforementioned oddities. This is not the same tree or oddity I first drew here. It’s in a neighboring tree and I first noticed it from this rather oblique angle. I used a 6B pencil to document what I was seeing. I had 19 minutes to do this sketch before Thomas decided it was time to move on.

October 3, 2013 Tree Sketch #1
The next sketch was the same feature on the same tree, but from a more direct point-of-view. I moved about four feet from the previous location to get this angle.

Once again, I used a 6B pencil and focused more closely on the opening at the base of the trunk. I used different strokes to quickly capture the details I wanted to feature. Thicker, darker lines for the cracks in the bark, directional strokes to create contour, and lighter strokes to outline the surrounding objects.

October 3, 2013 Tree Sketch #2
Artistic interest in trees was an unexpected gift this summer; one that keeps on giving week after week. As much fun as it’s been to draw and redraw these subjects throughout the summer, I’m thinking it will be even more interesting to draw them after a decent snowfall.

Or in the Spring. Here, here to the changing seasons!