I’ve planted an acacia alongside the traveler as he takes his step into the unknown, heading toward the rising sun. Next to the acacia the ground has been recently disturbed. He’ll be seen passing between two of these trees, because I’ve also started painting the foliage of another one above him and to his right, as he strides beneath its branches toward the precipice. Once he tumbles down he’ll be able to continue upon the right road between two stones, where he will once again fall down a precipice, finally reaching the valley floor, perhaps finding relief there between the still waters of a pair of lakes.
The tree is painted in Van Dyke Brown, using a filbert to lay down the paint, then a fan brush to soften the edges to a nice blur. I added a touch of Prussian Blue to the deep shadows in order to find darkness and to introduce a coolness to them. The leaves of the acacia above and to his right appear to be white, but they’re actually rendered in a grey / blue with some brown added to it.
It’s pretty hard to see the pale initial layer of the leaves in the first photo so I’ve added a second closer image to show the work. Later I’ll put a glaze of olive green and some brown to shape them, than a few highlights. It’s challenging to stay focused on repetitive but simple work like this, because the leaf units are very similar, but the spacing of the steps follows a pattern, so I’m trying to keep referring to the branch I pulled from a handy acacia tree beside a creek close to my home.