An oak tree was on my mind when I returned home from a trip this past Monday, partly because it was struck by lightning several years ago. It still has the char marks and some loose bark as reminders. Several days earlier I had driven through pounding rain, lightning bolts that rivaled tree branches and high winds and hail that eventually spawned a tornado several miles to the south. Though it was still windy and overcast as I sat down to sketch, the dark clouds were breaking. Occasionally they let the afternoon sun cast a yellow glow over the tree. Home felt good, the oak solid, still, rooted. I was looking for something soothing to sketch, something still that wouldn’t hop or fly away. This tree seemed perfectly suited.
Its tangled branches challenged me. I easily lost beginnings and endings retracing my lines several times. The tree is so wonderfully massive that to get too close is to miss its glory; to get too far away is to lose sight of its exquisite detail.
I thrilled when a brown thrasher landed on one limb and grabbed my camera to view it better. I hopped up to take a closer look at the newly birthed oak leaves, softly frosted in pastel shades of pink and green and sketched them while standing. On the way back to my seat, I snapped photos of dogwood blossoms glistening as the clouds cleared the sun and added one to the sketch.
Smiling, I sat down again. An oak tree still? Maybe not. Sketching this oak felt more like dancing.
To see another fun visitor I had while sketching visit Vickie Henderson Art.