Tree Specimen Book Continues

Tree Specimen Book Continues

I haven’t shown my tree specimen book since March. The main reason for this is because I got a bit discouraged. The book has plaster coated pages on canvas that were meant for sketches. But the pages are very rough so I needed to get more gesso to apply on top. I also decided to get some charcoal to use for a bit more “rough” sketching.  I got my supplies, painted all the canvas pages with gesso, let that dry for a while and then tried a sketch.

Handmade book open to a page with a sketch of a pine branch in charcoal.

The pages are still very rough and are difficult to sketch on. I was disappointed with my sketch and really didn’t enjoy the process. So that discouraged doing any more sketches. The book sat for quite a while with nothing added.


Then when I was painting other things, I had leftover paint. I hate to waste paint so I decided I would start painting the canvas pages. Then I could add more on top and there wouldn’t be that intimidating white page (that I didn’t like the feel when sketching).

Handmade book open to a page with a print of a tree and definition of tree collaged on top.

I showed you this one before but I added the definition of tree to the bottom. The fun thing about this book, is that you can keep adding as you go.

Handmade book open to a page with a print of a thicket of trees.

Here’s another print of a thicket of trees that I added.

Handmade book open to a page with a print of a tree stump and cut out leaves.

And this one is a print of a tree stump and some little blue leaves that I got from one of my friends. Thanks Christa!

So I haven’t given up on my book. I’m not sure it will ever be “finished”, but that’s OK. I will continue to add bits and bobs as time goes by.



15 thoughts on “Tree Specimen Book Continues

  1. You could try smoothing your rough pages with sandpaper Ruth. I’ve used this method of getting the most of the lumps and bumps out of gesso covered felt/fibres. In any event, I like the results your getting so far, even the one you don’t like of the added branch. You could try sanding that page a bit and adding to it?

  2. I love the way that you have returned to your book Ruth. I have one very silly question as I have the stuff in the house (stolen from my youngest who bought it for college and I don’t think he ever used it). What is gesso for? I appreciate that you are not a fan of the branch that you drew with the charcoal but to my mind it reminds me of an oriental drawing.

    That was a great call – using the different paints. Love the thicket – it would make a fab textile design and the tree stump print. I am feeling little butterflies of creative excitement when I look at your book.

    1. Thanks Helene, gesso is normally used for putting on canvas before painting. You can use it for textures under paint too.

  3. It can be discouraging when things don’t turn out the way you wanted or expected but after a time out things seem to be improving. I like the charcoal sketch. The roughness makes it look like a shaky hand made it. Did you spray it with something so it won’t smudge or rub off onto the opposite page? I hope the sanding helps you like the pages better. If not maybe it is just meant to have things added, instead of being drawn in.

  4. Your tree book is intriguing Ruth. I’m glad that you revisit the book every now and again. I get a new perspective on things that I have put away for a while, but mine things are nowhere near as complex as your book though! It will be interesting to see it again and see the additions you have made.

  5. Like the others have said, I have no doubt, you will get the book you expect to see in the end. Your work always looks amazing to me! I’m trying get my head around, enjoying the twists, and turns, creating presents to me. In the end, it seems to works out better! Timeouts, are good, for projects that misbehave…🤭

  6. I know it’s a platitude, but there’s a reason it exists: it’s not the end, or the “finished version” that matters, but the journey. I’m loving your book and knowing it’s being slowly added on, no rush or agenda, is a marvellous thing to me. Putting things away for a while and revisiting them later is also a great way to see how we’ve changed, where our mental energy was back then, versus how we’re feeling right now as we pick up the project again. I’m looking forward to seeing your Tree Book Journey as it progresses.

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