Springtime Observations

These are two simple sketches I made in my sketchbook while sitting on the back porch.  We have a sweet gum tree right outside the door, and with this year’s weather being so mild I was able to observe more of the springtime growing.

Note:  My sketchbook is not meant to be filled with masterpieces but rather more of visual diary of experiences, sometimes hastily sketched and colored.  Although I like this style of this Moleskine sketchbook and the paper within can handle a lot of water, it does not act like true watercolor paper in that the flow is just not there. If you have any suggestions on a better sketchbook, I’m all ears.   Maybe I will have to just make my own, as per Teri’s and Jill’s recommendations in the past.

Sweet Gum

Sweet Gum

This branch held tightly closed male flowers that will eventually blossom and spread pollen.  The brown, spikey ball is actually a dried female flower of the tree leftover from last year.  They have taught me not to walk in the back yard in my bare feet!  No leaves were on the tree at the time of this drawing.

Sweet Gum - two weeks later

Sweet Gum – two weeks later

This sketch was drawn nearly two weeks later, and the male flowers have already blossomed and most have fallen to the ground.  Fresh growth of bright green female flowers can be seen dangling from the tree.  These catch the pollen from the male flowers and there we have a simple biology lesson 🙂  I was also amazed at how many leaves had emerged and the tree was already starting to provide shade.  By autumn the female flowers will start becoming dried and prickly.

Note 2: I’ve seen ideas on Pinterest of these spikey pods covered in glitter and hung on a Christmas tree.  Hmmmm, maybe a little tacky but they sure would be eye-catching!



6 thoughts on “Springtime Observations

  1. Carol, I am familiar with the Sweet Gum tree; my daughter used to have two growing in her backyard until she finally had them removed so there wouldn’t be that big clean up project in the fall. Your sketch has definitely captured the spiky appearance of the female seed. Creating your own sketchbook would give you an opportunity to select the watercolor paper that works best for you; I do that myself. It’s even more fun to design and craft your own. There are a ton of demonstrations ‘on how to do it’ on Youtube.

  2. I totally don’t think that would be tacky and we should do that! Love you sweet gum paintings!

  3. I have tried to grow sweet gum as their fall color is gorgeous but i guess we are too cold here.
    Nice drawings and yes, rake those spikey globes up and use them. You are lucky to have the resource!

  4. It is indeed very pretty in the fall! What’s your address and how many glittery sweet gum balls do you want? A couple hundred? 😂

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