Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Sweetbay Celebration

A few Saturday's ago, I wandered down the tree line in back of the house to the multi-trunked Sweetbay, Magnolia virginiana L., in hopes that there were still fresh blooms to paint. I had my watercolor sketchbook, travel set of holbein watercolors and my NIJI waterbrush. No campstool. No pencil. I just wanted to paint! The 'ol girl is getting bolder. I also think the yearning to create an acrylic painting is surfacing, thus the desire to just lay down the paint and not fuss with drawing and wc washes.

The first image is my 30 minute wc sketch. The second image I created from a digital photo displayed on my computer monitor. I started with wc pencils but finished up with Caran D'arch Neocolor II watersoluble wax pastels. I have a small set of ten. Interesting little guys. They have a painterly feel to them. Almost like acrylics in stick form.

The rest of the Sweetbay studies utilize General's sketch and wash pencil. I did them back in 2007 when I first discovered this beauty of a tree.

These trees can reach 60' but, my tree book, Native Trees of the Southeast, says they can also be a large shrub, especially in the northern parts of its range (NC, VA, DE). My little tree (I get quite posesive when I discover a specimen) is interesting in that it has 22 branches/trunks. It either wants to be a shrub or perhaps it used to have a single trunk and was cut down. Often times, if the roots live, many saplings will sprout from the remaining trunk.


  1. Pam,
    Lovely sketches and paintings. I so enjoy drawing flowers and I am reluctant to say that one is my favorite. But magnolias are close to my number one choice to draw and paint. These are not only beautiful but the different mediums and technique make them even more exciting.

  2. Thank you, Judy!
    I had hoped to save more of the creamy flower color on the first one but..... Perhaps the next try :)

  3. Pam,
    We visited the Desert Museum about 7 years ago. About an hour after we arrived the sky fell. One of the worst thunder storms that area had in years. So we only saw a small section. I so much want to go back. The museum is the major funder for my favorite TV show on Public Television, The Desert Speaks. Check out the website and see if it is on in your area. Me too, the desert calls. We hope to go out there next spring. I love being part of Cactus Monday, has inspired me to go back through all my photos and select many to draw. take care, Judy