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Bluebell Arboretum - July 2020
Bluebell Arboretum

A lot of the places we might normally take a trip to visit, like gardens and country houses, are beginning to open up but often still require booking in advance for a limited time slot. That is understandable but it makes them less appealing for now. However, one of our nearest RHS partner gardens, Bluebell Arboretum and Nursery, has been freely open since early June. We went there last month and decided to take another trip back this morning.

As I did last time, I fired up Procreate on my iPad and got on with image making. Here, the scene was a bridge over a long pond. I started with a dark background and then a layer where I applied large blocks of colour using a textured brush. Then it was a case of working on particular areas, each on its own layer.

Layering is a particular feature of digital art compared to most traditional media. Each layer interacts visually with the others but the marks don’t directly change those on other layers. This allows more freedom in what order to work on things – for example, I added the mid-ground bridge after I’d finished the bushes and grasses in the foreground. However, it can also be more sterile, reducing the potential for happy accidents as different sets of marks combine with each other to create new forms.

I tried to maintain a middle way, working on several layers but using a range of brushes and colours on each – for example the light and dark across the bottom of the bridge created by hatching with an ‘ink’ tool and then smudged together.

All put together, it isn’t a photographic result but I am pleased with its overall expressiveness.

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