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Sunday, 31 March 2013





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Painting trees in watercolours

Trees are a joy to our eyes and they refresh our spirits. The more you know about trees the more you want to draw.

It is easy for you to study the details before painting. What problems do you come across and how can you solve them? What is the shape of the tree? Is it round, tall or spread out?

Figure 1: Impression of trees of various varieties

How do the leaves look like? Are they fine, broad, pointed or odd shaped. What does the trunk look like? Smooth, craggy or ringed?

Notice the trees I have painted on Figure 1. On the right (above) you find a big tree with leaves spread around. Observe the dark shadows that help to give the tree depth and form.

The first tree shows a pale light wash put on to the trunk and leaves. A light lemon green is applied as a basic colour and dark green is applied as a basic colour and dark green is used as a shading.

The big tree shows simple basic colour used as a start for the beginner. I have used only two colours, green and brown.

To start painting, first apply the light wash (a pale green). After the first paint has dried go on to the top with a dark colour only the areas where deep shadows are.

The structure of a tree is formed gradually upwards from its trunk with branches spread on sides. When drawing a trunk of a tree with twigs, start from the base of the tree and work up.

Figure 2: Varieties of tree trunks with a basic colour wash

Observe the three small trees painted above. They are typical trees painted with the basic colour green and painting the leaves in two washes a light wash and a strong dark colour to show the shading when the sunlight falls.

The trunks are painted with a light wash brown and in the second round to show the shading using a dark colour with a thin pointed brush or a pen with lines drawn as a finished picture of trees.

Painting tree trunks

Figure 2 - Study the tree trunks before painting. The texture, the shaded dark patches and the bark effects. Notice the two tree trunks I have painted. First apply a light wash of brown colour over the paper. Let it dry, go to the next two tree trunks, apply a dark wash and paint the trunk with vertical strokes of a round brush.

In general, paint the trunk in two different tones, putting the lightest colour first and adding the strong darker colour while the first is still damp, keeping in mind where the sunlight falls.

Observe the two tree trunks on the right. The darker stroke is applied from the left side to show how the sunlight falls and the last tree completed with thin brush strokes.

The drawing paper should be 250 grams Kent paper with a slight grain on it, and brushes Nos. 2, 4, 8 and 6.


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