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!
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.
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.