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Here’s the gray oak leaf I started yesterday, but I decided I wasn’t going to continue with the little white dots.

Instead, I drew this (same species, different reference photo).

The gray oak, a.k.a. shin oak or scrub oak, is a Southwestern desert-dweller, not seen up in our rainier, cooler region.

Trees don’t pay any mind to human boundaries, and this species of oak lives along either side of the border in Arizona and New Mexico, USA, and Sonora and Chihuahua, México.

Manzanita doesn’t grow on the East Coast, where I grew up. Now when I see it during a hike–which is more often than not–I am delighted. I love the dark red bark, whose traces you can see here in the pink stem of the leaf.

Arctostaphylos manzanita has two common names: “common manzanita” and “whiteleaf manzanita.” I have no idea where the latter one might come from, as the leaves are not at all white even on the underside.

Fun with fall colors

I’ve spent a lot of time on today’s leaf, and want to continue tomorrow before considering it done. So I’ll update then with the actual drawing.

This drawing is notable for being the only one in for months of this practice for which I used the photo in the field guide as my model. When I got on this plan, I imagined I would use the field guide most of the time, but once I got it I realized the photos are too small most of the time. I can’t draw a lot of detail because I can’t see a lot of detail. With this tree, though, I just loved the silhouette. That was enough.

The common name of Salix sitchensis made me wonder whether there are really willows as far north as Alaska. Yes, they are. The native territory of S. sitchensis runs along the coast from central California to Kodiak Island, AK.

When I’m tired already when I sit down to drawing, I have been trying to take it as a nudge to draw fast. Being looser and less fussy, less focused on tiny details, is a frequent challenge for me. I’m liking the way it is working lately.

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