color pencil drawing - 6X8"
© Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)
Cottonwoods are a prairie tree...a stream-side tree...a tree of wet or dry places, a real opportunist. As a stream-side tree, Beaver love it, its a favorite for Herons - its a great rookery tree. They'll grow very tall and gain great girth in a fairly short time, and that's perfect for rookeries like the one just SE of the acreage studio here.
I've climbed many cottonwoods as a kid...they're perfect before they gain too much girth because by then they've tended to loose their lower branches - those you need to grab onto in order to gain some height and get to those more easily handled perches. Besides, a fat tree is nearly impossible to hitch up unless you're a woodpecker or squirrel! I spent many a summer afternoon 40-50 feet up in a cottonwood, seated on a big horizontal branch, gazing out into the river or creek valley below...occasionally something would land nearby and be startled by the sight of me! This was a great perch for watching Red-tail Hawks and Turkey Vultures soaring in the sky; like a "head-start" to their level. What memories! And I've fallen out of 'em too...but lets not go there!
The piece shown above is a small color pencil drawing I just finished. It, like a myriad of others, is of the creek in the valley below the studio here (Waterman Creek)...I'm beginning to suspect that no other person has painted, drawn or photographed this creek more than I have!?? I could be wrong but I don't know? Anyway I'll keep walking and exploring it and all the other area creeks and rivers I possibly can
The Cottonwood tree on the other bank was my focal point, I just loved the structure of the tree, but the sun was lighting it frontally (not an easy or preferred way to portray something) so I threw the left foreground into a "bit" of shadow to help with the composition and to give a transition to step into...the creek helps conceptually and compositionally too of course.
I like these small color drawings, they're fun to do but are not always cooperative!
I'm trying to get ready for the 2012 Artisans Road Trip now! Well, I've been trying all summer but now I'm down to "crunch time" and I'm afraid I'll be glued to the studio from now until October 6 and 7 when the event takes place. This is the ninth consecutive year of the Artisans Road Trip and it should be a great weekend! Set the days aside if you can. If you haven't taken one in during years past, or have yet to have visited the studio here along the valley - check the dates off on your calendar!!!
The summer is fading - take advantage of it while you can, and enjoy yourself!