So one of the nice things I’ve discovered about doing studies in ink and watercolor is that it helps me to divide up a complicated subject into easier to understand steps. In oil painting, I have to take in the entirety of the scene in all at once – light and shadow, warm and cool, shape, texture, perspective, and on and on – it has it’s benefits, but it can be overwhelming. With ink, I can put aside color, value and temperature and focus just on the shape and line of what’s in front of me, getting the texture right, getting things placed on the picture plane in the right relationships, putting in the detail. Then, with all that cemented in, I can come back with the watercolor and focus on color and all that that entails. Right now, with the bare trees all in a wintery gnarl of confusion, this is handy. Of course, Texas spring is just around the corner, so I expect I won’t get to use this technique for long.