Tag Archives: ash leaves

Studies in Small Sizes

I’m running out of watercolor paper and haven’t gotten around to buying more.  After my Plein Air class this summer, I’m also trying to answer the question, “What size do I like best?”  My first instinct is that landscapes seem to demand big paper, yet my favorite paintings made by class members were invariably the smaller ones, some just 4 x 6″.  Smaller is also easier to squirrel away in a binder or portfolio for storage.  Given these three factors, and a very strong urge to sit and stare out the window at the changeable weather, this weekend brought a couple of 6 x 6″-ish studies of Small Things.

Like one leaf.  Oregon’s fall foliage doesn’t exactly blaze.  Native ash and oak leaves turn the color of paper bags mostly.  Vine maples and poison oak do a good job of providing some brief burgundies and oranges.  Sometimes you’re lucky enough to wander into a birch or aspen grove for a bit of gold.  And of course, evergreens stay… green.  Not that I’m complaining!  You just have to look really closely to see what’s going on in all those paper bag brown leaves:

Ash Leaf, mixed media by Kerry McFall

Ash Leaf, mixed media by Kerry McFall

This specimen, one of the first to drop, was laying on the damp trail at Bald Hill.  The black mold pattern caught my eye, and I decided I’d try to adapt it somehow to a pattern design.  First order of business, figure out how to get something close to that spotty black-on-paperbag pattern… watercolor, spattering, colored pencil, ink… nope.  Didn’t quite manage it.  But it was a fun start.

Next up, a duckling vignette to send to a very small person in Germany along with a book about cartoon ducks… I thought it would be good to show him that REAL ducks don’t wear rubber boots or baseball caps:

sketch of mallard duckling

Oregon Duckling, mixed media by Kerry McFall

This little mallard walked “duck-footed”, to the point that he kept tripping on his own feet as he waddled along.  He and his two siblings paused long enough for a brief photo shoot in spring at the Starker Arts Park pond.  I wonder what ducklings say in German?