Autumn Leaves

Nothing feels quite as soothing as the crisp autumn air, the crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet, the rustling wind as it combs through the trees. Red apples hang heavy on the branches, pumpkins puff and swell. The palette changes, quite subtly, till one day you open the window and realise that the greens have faded to yellows, taken on a tinge of bright orange. As the days get cooler, reds and golds burst forth, a brilliant end to the growing season, one last flamboyant display for the year before snuggling down into the snow for a well-deserved nap.

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For pretty autumn leaves, Vermont was an easy choice within close proximity. Along the way, splashes of fiery colour and packets of emerald lined the Interstate, made all the more poetic by a gentle lilting drizzle. Vermont announced itself with quaint farmsteads and leaf-lined pathways, rolling hills covered densely with trees of all hues. Wooden fences framed soft green pastures, and showers of yellow leaves edged with orange danced with every breath of wind.

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I worked on this Autumn in Vermont drawing mainly with D— Inktense watercolour pencils, supplemented occasionally with U.S. Art S— watercolour pencils. The latter were the ones I’d been using, and still do. This set I bought has 36 colours, with some lovely shades, and works wonderfully for me. The leads aren’t brittle, they dissolve very nicely in water, they blend well, and they’re small and sharp, which is great for detailed work. Haven’t tried many brands, but I’ve never used anything better than them so far. The former were new, which is why I was trying them out with this drawing- I’d bought them for their bright intense colours, and for that purpose they’re great, since my other set has generally lighter colours. However, the leads are very thick, very soft, and in my hands don’t seem to colour on as smoothly or blend as well, so I shy away from them when doing detailed work. I use them only for the darkest shadows, most vibrant colours, and brightest highlights, since most of my work tends to be quite small and have quite a bit of detail. These pencils made my drawing look more like it was done with pastels, but sometimes that isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.

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Autumn in Vermont, Jess Li. Watercolour pencils on white sketchbook paper

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