impressionist landscape graphite pencil drawing

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Hortus Botanicus – 26-05-24

Why Not Leiden?

This graphite pencil drawing ‘Hortus Botanicus – 26-05-24’ yet another impressionist view. Since the last one ‘Arentsdorp – 17-05-24’ I thought of doing something similar but outside The Hague. My initial plan was to depict Leiden again, the town where I once studied. It’s not far away from here, some 10 miles north. There is a great bike path and sometimes I wonder why I don’t visit the place more often. Anyway, there was a sound reason of heading there a week ago. There was this annual Japanese Fair along The Rapenburg I would like to visit. Even the weather was nice so went for a little ride.

Memory Lane

Once I got to the fair it was a bit of a let down. Not the stuff I would like to buy and disappointingly no great kimono’s. Only cheap stuff and no fresh products, etc. Since I wasn’t into bowls, books or other paraphernalia I fled straight into the Hortus Botanicus situated behind the Academiegebouw. It must have been 30 years ago since I was there for the last time after I graduated. So definitively memory lane here. Why not go there for some inspiration?

Looking for That Special Spot

Surely I like what they’ve done to the place. There were more gardens and the greenhouses with fascinating plants and trees were more beautiful than I remember. Must have been the fact I have become more receptive to nature than when I was a young buck. So I took a lot of photos. It was crowdy and soon I realized there wasn’t much opportunity to sit right down and do a live sketch. Unfortunately this is not how things go in real life, only in romantic movies on artistic affairs. The bitter truth is you have to find a spot were there isn’t much space to capture the scenery. Like that specific place further down the road near the Observatory. From a narrow path I suddendly had a great view on a big tree. Unterneath there was a beautiful woman caught in the light.

Size Comparison

What struck me was the impressiveness of the foliage in contrast to the comparatively small person. This gave meaning to the both of them. In absence of her the foliage and treescape wouldn’t show their grandness. The leaves were challenging enough. You always face the risk of turning such structures into one big rubble pile. Consequently I decided to use A5 paper. Because it’s bigger than A6 I could get me much more expression in my hatched strokes styles.

Pitt Graphite Matt pencil (Faber-Castell, 14B) drawing on Winsor & Newton paper (14.8 x 21 x 0.1 cm)

Artist: Corné Akkers