Keeping It Simple

sketch of leafless oak

“November Sky”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

Sunday was another clear, frigid, rare November weekend day, so off I went to my Default Trail: Bald Hill.  I made the circle around the pastures, through the wetland, up to the barn, camera in hand.  From the hilltop at the barn, this was the view.  The ancient oak was naked, black against the waning daylight – at 4:00 p.m., mind you… I could just make out the slight swelling at the ends of the bare branches, next season’s leaves waiting their opportunity.  I decided that in spite of all the closeups I had taken of hoarfrost on fallen oakleaves, of rosehips and snowberries gleaming in Christmas color schemes, of teazels and tangles of blackberry vines, I wanted to convey that cold simplicity: past, present, and future stark against the heavens.

A quick pencil sketch, a few strokes of my brush pen, a watercolor wash in a limited palette, and all I needed was a bit of texture.  Rubbing the side of colored pencil leads over the watercolor, mostly black, a little purple, I found not only the contrast I wanted, but the texture, and it was still very simple.  Some days, that’s what this journey is all about – enjoying the basics, relishing the walking and the looking, simplifying the process.  Other days – let me at those fussy details!

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