The way the weather’s been going it’s possible the last couple of days will be our last really warm ones, so I took off yesterday to camp in the Bears Den. I set my tent on the banks of the Millers River where I drew this picture. The water is low so there are a lot of rocks sticking up and there’s a lot of variation in the reflection of light from the water’s surface. I get so hung up on trying to draw every rock I almost gave up after a false start, but then instead of trying to draw the whole thing at once I began with the rock in the center and worked out from there. The values of the water’s surface are hard to capture, especially in pen and ink at this scale, so I did a little generalizing. I feel that there are a lot of nice details in the picture but it is a little hard to tell what you are looking at and it may have worked better if I had blocked it in first and showed more of the river banks so it was a more coherent picture.
This morning I went looking for a tree I had seen on my previous walks through the area. It’s a large hollow pine, still living despite a huge cavity in its trunk that extends about 12 feet up. A pile of sawdust spills out of the cavity at the base of the tree as if it had just vomited out its insides. The bark pattern here is as complicated as the rocks in the river but is essential to capturing the contours and character of the tree. Instead of trying to painstakingly draw every line as it was I tried to capture small strategic sections and then freelanced in between. A photo of the tree from a slightly different angle is below.