I went to a friend’s house yesterday to do some sketching; had a lingering headache from earlier in the morning so I was a little restless. An old cottonwood–a massive black dendrite in the yard–caught my eye, so I pulled out a brush pen and tried to work out the hierarchy of branching directions.
What is it that makes a cottonwood? A certain powerful upward angle of primary branches (trending to bowed lower on the trunk); graceful swoops of secondary branches. And the short, stout bud-branchlets, bristling out almost perpendicular to the more sinuous smallest branches.
By the time I reached the bottom of the tree my brush pen was almost dry, but it felt OK for the drawing to stutter out.
Looking at the drawing today I’m struck by how it feels like a visualization of my headache–the tendrils of pain branching around my neck and head. I like the thought–it’s comforting somehow.