Family takes  priority during family vacations, so I sketched and painted less than I might have.  Still, I was able to get some work done on our recent trip to Hilton Head.   Living in New England means that I have very little opportunity to see and paint trees from the southeast.   Trees are a favorite subject of mine and are often featured in my paintings.  It was pleasing to be able to see and paint trees from a new area.  Obviously, palm trees don’t grow in the forests of the northeast.  The two sketches below are of a palm located in the courtyard of the condo complex where we stayed for the week.  The pencil sketch captures the reality of the tree, while the watercolor sketch is a study in color, light and shade.

Palm tree sketch - Hilton Head Island

PortRoyalPalmBy the time I did this watercolor sketch, I had adjusted my color mixtures to be more representative of the colors of the plants and foliage in the Hilton Head area.   My initial works lacked a bit of authenticity since I was using colors – particularly greens – that are more like those found in New England.  The sketch below of a beach and salt marsh near where we stayed shows the difference.  The green areas in the fore and middle ground are tall marsh grasses.  As sketched, the green is more like the green of a grassy field in the northeast.  Marsh grasses in this are tend to be a somewhat more intense yellow green than as depicted.

Port Royal Sound marsh & sky - Hilton Head Island

Port Royal Sound marsh & sky - Hilton Head Island

On this particular morning, the sky was overcast.  I was pleased to find that my favorite combination of cerulean blue and cadmium red did work well to capture the look of the sky.