I've been sketching exotic trees up till now - most of the trees at Emmarentia Dam and around the suburbs were imported from around the world and planted in an area that had few, if any indigenous trees a hundred and twenty or so years ago, being mostly Highveld grassland.
This morning I had a long wait in the car for my son, and was happy to find some acacia trees in the parking lot - I don't know their names, but someone once made an effort to have quite a variety of the species planted here, in an otherwise stark and industrial sort of area. So naturally I spent the time sketching them - boy, trees are difficult! I tried first with Pentel pen and watercolour, and then with just watercolour and the brushpen, which is a bit ungainly to render all those fine twiggy bits and feathery leaves. I meant to pick some of the leaves and pods to draw later at home, but forgot.
Instead I sketched the pods I picked up at the dam a few weeks ago, which I thought were from an African tree, but have since discovered are from a Honey-locust, which comes from North America. When I picked them up I described them as 'ebony', but actually they are rich shades of red and burgundy - I think I will be painting them again - better next time I hope, on proper paper with a proper brush. I'm getting a bit too reliant on that handy waterbrush!
Look at this beautiful poem sent to me by a dear friend, when she saw I was drawing trees...
'WHEN I AM AMONG TREES'
by Mary Oliver (from 'Thirst')
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
Equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would also say that they save me, and daily,
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
And call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
Into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."