During Brookline High School's spring break, I had the opportunity to travel to Southern California to visit the college that my son will be attending after a Gap year. We got real lucky; the weather there was gorgeous while the weather in Brookline was miserable.
The area we went to, Claremont, is beautiful in its own unique way... kind of semi-arid, not quite desert, not quite mountainous. Lots of cacti, palm trees, lizards... things we don't usually see in Boston. Both my son and I were awed by these anomalies (anomalies to us - they were old hat to residents). After visiting the local sites and the college(s), I had the opportunity to sketch a fan palm and another, larger palm with my new eyes to the scene. Because the files are so large and I don't know how to effectively shrink them down, I'll send them in two different emails. I decided to trace the progress of the sketches as I went, so attached please find the initial stage, mid stage, and where I left the final sketch for dinnertime.
Those of you who are Facebook and Instagram friends have seen these already so my apologies for redundancy. But I guess I just wanted to show this vein of my work - trees. I read a great book on landscape painting years ago by John F Carlson. He had a brief chapter on trees, where he described them as living creatures reaching for the sky, their source of energy, and how they maneuver around objects and each other to get the most sky they can. He described walking through a forest and witnessing the "dance of the trees", their twisting, maneuvering, writhing attitudes as they leaned away from each other to grab their portion of the sky... the straightest ones were the oldest or the ones with no obstructions.
Fortunately, these palms were fairly isolated so they could grow straight.