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I’ll be drawing numerous members of the genus Quercus, I think, and this is the first. It looks more like a willow leaf to my layperson’s eye: untoothed, long and ovoid and slender. But it’s an oak. This is the underside, and that’s what the name refers to; the tops of the leaves are a rich green.

I fell right into bed without drawing yesterday, distracted by the happy, rare event of having friends stay in the house. But it is a quiet day with a work-free Sunday to follow, so I can do a second drawing today.


The leaves are so varied on this tree. At one stage, it has long, untoothed, simple leaves like the ones we’ve seen the last couple of days, but then there are these compound leaves.

As Erp pointed out in her recent comment, common names are often misnomers. But this tree really does grow on Catalina Island.

I started drawing these beautiful leaves and got really annoyed by how fussy I was getting. Deeply lost in the weeds of tiny variations in color. Was any of the light coming through?

So I started again, determined to use just a few colors and keep the shapes and shades simple. Actually, now I think each drawing was successful in its own way.

Also, I somehow accidentally included a very old photo that must have been in my WordPress media library. It’s an internal window in the funky apartment we rented in Mexico in 2010. I figured if it wanted to be in this post, it could be.

Ah, the introduced tree Californians love to hate. It grows fast, but aside from that, the plan of introducing it as a lumber tree can’t be said to have been very carefully thought out. It sheds long strips of bark that make terrific tinder in our fire-prone region, the very speed with which it grows can make it something of a weed, and according to some noses (for example, my sweetie’s), it fills the surrounding air with the aroma of cat pee. But eucalyptus has its lovely qualities too, one of which is the graceful drape of the adult leaves.

The Latin name for desert – willow is Chilopsis linearis. What I’m holding here is slightly different, a C. x tashkentsis (we think), but as it is one of only two trees in my yard, there was no way I was going to draw it from a photograph. Close enough.

I also didn’t want to pull a green leaf off the tree, so here is a dried one. I have drawn one of these before, captivated by its spiraling curl. This one shows the same tendency.

This is the underside of the leaf.

So called because the edges of its leaves sometimes curl under. Here’s a view of a leaf’s underside.

For those who recall that aspirin is derived from willow bark, here we are: Salix taxifolia, as in salicylic acid.

Ah, the teeny tiny veins of yewleaf willow. And of most of the leaves to come, I suspect. I’m not good at them yet, but this year will be an intensive course.

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