Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gift of October: Persimmons

This is a sketch I completed today. Yesterday, I went out to take photos, because I really need a nice landscape photo for a class I’m taking with Japanese fiber artist Noriko Endo at International Quilt Festival in Houston in about a week. I am really excited about this class… partly because it is so totally different from what I do, and how I do it. Noriko is a master at portraying woodland scenes, and I was hoping to get a shot of trees showing their autumn colors. 

So I headed out to a local state park on a lake near me. It was a gorgeous, clear day. I hiked a bit, took some photos and was almost back to my car when I spotted the most amazing persimmon tree, branches bare, with its golden orange orbs hanging like polka dots against the cornflower blue sky. I must have stood there for a half hour, shooting up. Here are some of the best shots:

When you take photographs, how often do you look straight up? Try it! 

I love how the depth of field on these photos draws attention (and focus) to the branches in the foreground.

They were up so high that I couldn’t pick any, and only the rotten fruit had fallen to the ground. According to Wikipedia, the American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is native to the eastern U.S. and is higher in vitamin C and calcium than the Japanese persimmon. In the midwest, it is the key ingredient in a steamed pudding, and sometimes its lumber is used as a substitute for ebony in musical instruments.

I am not crazy about the typeface I used in my sketch. It’s a bit blocky and heavy for this subject, I think. I enjoy using type in my sketches; I want to work on better integrating it into the sketches as I do more with The Sketchbook Challenge in the next year. I also need to work on ways to handle the depth of field issue. The branches in the background are too heavy, and too well defined; they don’t recede as much as they should. 

I also think I'll try doing something more graphic with the same photo… perhaps in a more limited palate of solid black, blue and orange. The wheels are also turning while I consider ways to use this photo – and my drawing of it – in something fabric related.