"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Purging Buckthorn… again, and a sap green sketch.

Yesterday I wrote about my Purging Buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica and the “sap green” pigment which was once extracted from its berries.  Today a few more notes.
In this mild autumn the spinney by the shed still has quite a few leaves. If you are drawing trees it’s a good idea to sketch the whole thing because they all have very different overall shapes.  It’s a way of getting to know them.

buckthorn and shed bg leaf bg

Some leaves are still green, some have turned yellow and do look quite pretty, and some are in-between, with delicate two tone patterns. (I did use some sap green in this sketch.. the modern version though.)

buckthorn leaves

The bark of the mature tree/shrub is actually quite attractive. It is dark almost glossy, a dark purple brown and striped with prominent pale lenticels. These are raised pores on the surface of bark which facilitate the exchange of gases from the inside of the plant to the outside and vice-versa. There are a lot of them on this plant. Some have greened over with lichen.

The spines seems to grow on every part of the plant, below a sketch of a small branch we pruned yesterday. One massive thorn is 5 inches long very robust and very sharp. The immediate cut surface of the bark is a cinnamon brown. The largest clump of buckthorn comprises a group of 5 or 6 trunks twining affectionately around each other. We took about 10 smaller ones out yesterday and have liberated the small shed.  

bark and spines buckthorn sm

Twigs are good things to draw and if you are interested in identifying winter twigs you can download this very nice free chart from the Woodland Trust here

winter twigs woodland trust 
Winter twigs Woodland trust

It was much colder today.. our first UK winter for 8 years is definitely on its way. Brrr…

1 comment:

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Good to hear you have been tackling the garden! Your sketches are just great and I love the textures. There is a forecast for snow so watch out, winter is coming!!