leaf patterns in the shade on a warm August day

august 4 drawing old town

I visited Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, today for some outdoor drawing in its beautiful historic neighborhood.  I was looking for crepe myrtles but didn’t find exactly the sort of tree I wanted, and so I settled instead for a drawing of a leafy shrub growing along the wall of someone’s town house.  I have a painting project that includes many leaves in a dense pattern so drawing studies of leaves is an always helpful exercise.

For this drawing I used oil pastel on an 18 x 24 inch notebook.  The ends of the metal easel are visible at the top and bottom of the photo.

I took a photograph of the plant and if anyone knows what it is, please leave the plant name in a comment.  I am notoriously ignorant about plants, much as I love drawing them.  But I do wish to learn their identities!

old town alex bush (2)

In making my drawing of leaves, I’m influenced by the way that Eugene Delacroix drew plants.  Below is a drawing of hollyhocks (rose trémière) that illustrates his characteristic short hand way of drawing the contours of the plant’s parts.

hollyhock by Delacroix
Delacroix, hollyhocks

 

With such a proliferation of leaves my drawing doesn’t deal with the whole plant in any way.  I chose instead to focus on particular branches.  During the course of drawing I got lost and forgot momentarily which branch I was drawing, which of itself provided some interesting information because it revealed how similar the different branches really are, right down to the shapes of individual leaves.  I noticed then for the first time that the ends of the branches sometimes terminate in very similar leaf patterns.

So, as always when drawing from life, you learn something new.