Thursday, September 23, 2010

First day of fall (sycamore leaf)

Sycamores are among the last trees to go into leaf; in the fall, they are the first to shed. They make sweet food in green broadleaves for a while – leaves wide as plates – and then go wild and wave their long white arms. ~ Annie Dillard

Today is recognized as the second annual crossing of the equator by the sun, known in the northern hemisphere as the autumnal equinox. The word equinox derives from the Latin, meaning “equal night.” Traditionally, the length of days and nights become the same on this day. Of course, this really depends on where you live and how exactly you wish to measure!

If you are in the northern hemisphere and out and about tonight, look for the moon; this year we’re supposed to experience what is called a Super Harvest Moon. I read that there will be a huge orange moon rising as the sun is setting.

To celebrate these events and our first day of fall, I thought I’d create another version of a sycamore leaf. This one is in my Pentalic Nature Sketch 6 x 12 inch book.

First, I brushed the paper with gesso, letting it dry overnight. Next morning I added the ink sketch and some watercolor washes. Then I layered watercolor pencil strokes here and there with a clear water wash, and added a subtle leaf print or two. The textures seemed to be appropriate to the season and to reflect the dry crinkly texture of the leaf.

The quote above is from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, and is part of a longer exploration of life and nature including trees, time, and sycamores.

Happy equinox!

You can click on the image caption above to view it larger on my Flickr photostream.