Sketching Beech Tree

Weeping Beech sketching  using walnut ink with the assistance of the wind.


I’m so excited today to be working on a collaborative project  to celebrate National Tree Week. I assisted a Weeping Beech Tree at Hergest Croft Gardens to sketch using walnut tree ink and the wind. 

It all came together and started by me peering out of the window on my weather watch, to see the trees being blown about by the wind, the drizzle holding off, so dressed in waterproofs I headed out with everything I needed. 

In the medley of sketching items today I had long, thick watercolour brushes, Tom Norton’s walnut ink and a palette to pour the ink  into. I used rubber bands to attach the brushes to the tree, and taped the watercolour paper to a thick piece of card, to stop it blowing away. A large piece of MDF was used as a firm base, with a  rucksack underneath it, to level it out. 

Weeping Beech sketching preparation. 

The tricky part was setting the board to the right height and ensuring the brushes had the movement they needed to flow, when the wind blew, while hoping this all happened before the rain came in, which was due.  Winter outside creativity does make you watch the weather more closely and you then you  adapt to the conditions. Today though, I wanted the wind, but wanted the drizzle to hold off  a bit longer. I was in the hands of the elements. Exciting! 

Here is the lovely Weeping  Beech Tree,  together with the  Walking Sketchbook helping to set everything up for the sketch.
The walnut ink poured into a palette dish, so the brushes can absorb some ink.

A drawing is simply a line going for a walk

Paul Klee (1879 – 1940) German-Swiss Artist

I love the quote above.  As I sat by the weeping Beech sketching as the wind blew, it was magical watching the lines and marks appear on the paper.  The colour of the walnut was perfect and I like the different thickness in the lines produced. 

Walnut ink is made from the husks of the walnut tree. That’s the outer casing, you find the hard walnut shell inside. I’ve not made my own, but watch this space, I will be next year. 

 I felt today I was really connecting with nature, the elements, and experimenting with a different form of creativity.  Do you want to see what the tree sketched today? 

Here is the completed sketch by the Weeping Beech and wind before the rain arrived. Can you see the sea otters face peering out at you?

The more I look at the weeping Beech sketch the more things I see. What do you see?

I hope this has inspired you to connect more with nature and to see what you can create using the elements. If do have a go, share your adventures with me. 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy says:

    Wonderful interaction with nature. Love it.

    1. Thank you Andy, it was exciting to do. I love working with the elements.

  2. What a surprising and wonderful idea! At your prompting I did locate the sea otter’s face!

    1. Hey glad you liked it Liz and managed to see the sea otter. We have since discovered there are two mice next to each other and a cat on a roof. ☺️ What fun tree sketching brings. 🍃

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