For these two I have tried to be a little more gestural in my technique. I am self-taught with gouache (all painting actually) but the sable brush I’m using is so delightfully precise and sensitive, I wanted to attempt a more subtle drawing.

Oak twigs are a warm grey-brown, and the clusters of buds a fox-red. I used burnt umber and some indigo/black lightened with white for the stems, and burnt umber with some primary red plus alizarin crimson for the buds.

It’s easy to see the tiny horseshoe leaf scars underneath the buds – and the wrinkled-socks of girdle scars showing the previous year’s growth.

Ash trees are altogether cooler in their colouring, with matte black buds marking points on the cool grey stems. More white, and tiny touch of lemon yellow added to the black portion of my slate-grey blob of gouache on my palette:

I have willow, sycamore, and hornbeam to do next, but here are my gouache drawings thus far:

L-R Lime; Ash; Horse-chestnut; Oak

It is really lovely painting these twigs. It sounds odd, but they are so familiar to me, it’s like reconnecting with old friends, and just now, in February, they seem poised and ready to go; just a little more warmth and a little more sunlight, and they’ll be off, ready to start the cycle again. I am finding these rhythms comforting and reassuring at the moment, and welcome the undeniable (if rather predictable to highlight) promise of new growth.

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