12 October 2014

Sketchbook snapshot: A colorful season

What is it that drags vibrant leaves - those emblems of autumn - to the soil, and how is it that they turn such glowing colors while the summer sun fades?


These are the questions I explored in a recent Drawn to Quebec column, in anticipation of the upcoming color show. Now, we're in haut saison and daylight appears to be filtered through thousands of exquisite stained-glass window panes.

The processes that drive leaf color changes...
(explained in the article) were most surely covered during my childhood education. Furthermore, I've spent much of the past decade steeping in natural history and outdoor education. And yet, I confess to not fully understanding the physiology of deciduous trees and autumn leaf fall until I researched this column.


Tips for getting out and enjoying the color:
  • In town, the parks in Quebec City are overflowing with trees in full color. A stroll through the Plains of Abraham or along the St. Charles river is a particularly good bet.
  • Close to the city, Cap Tourment, the Marais-du-Nord near Lac Saint-Charles, and Île d'Orléans should be splendid.
  • If you're up for a hike, head to Fôret Montmorency, Parc Jacques-Cartier, or Parc des Grands-Jardins for stunning vistas.
  • Be sure to dress in layers, bring your binoculars, and pack a thermos of hot tea. 

Tips for capturing the essence of autumn in your sketchbook:
  • Try rubbing a couple of leaves (place leave under a page, and rub vigorously with your pencil) to capture their texture. 
  • Pasting leaves into your sketchbook works, but know that the leaves will be come brittle and their color will fade.
  • Lay a leave flat on the page and trace it's shape, then add in the veins and other details once you have the outline in place.
  • Keep in mind that objects in nature are almost never just one color. Take a close look at a leaf, and you'll likely notice that the veins are much darker, and that some areas of the leaf might still be green while the rest of the leaf has already turned golden. 


1 comment:

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