Good morning everyone. Actually, I’m really quite pleased with these watercolour studies – they’re my best trees ever! As it happens, I do paint trees often, either in landscapes or in urban sketching. And, I don’t think I paint them all that well. So, I decided to invest in a short online course by Watercolours Made Simple . To be honest, I’ve only looked at a lesson or two but I have been pleased with what I’ve learned so far. Otherwise, I might have continued to make it up as go along, a particular drawback of watercolour for me, I find. In fact, I think it’s really necessary to study techniques to improve. More so than in acrylic, for example. But, that’s just my opinion and I can’t claim to be particularly gifted at watercolour painting.
Learning how to paint your best trees
Anyway, this learning was good fun too, so it wasn’t a chore. Simply explained, the tutor taught us to start with the foliage first. (Who knew?). So I painted three or four irregular ovals with a watery mid green mix, leaving little patches of paper white. Then use a mix of a darker shade of the colour and a lighter one too. And, describe the shapes of the clumps of foliage, not individual leaves, with lighter colour in the sun . And, darker colour in the shade. It does help to look at a tree or a photo when doing this. After that, put in the trunks and branches, using a watery mix of lightish brown and add patches of darker shade.
Here I practised mixing lots of tree greens using yellows, blues, brown and red – see top row. Then we stayed with the greens to paint conifers and another deciduous tree. I really liked doing a row of trees on the horizon, something I always botched before. Finally, I attempted to show how some trees recede into the background when you paint a forest, mainly using the paler shade of the original green. Now, I do hope I can remember that when I’m sketching en plein air!
Or in my back garden for that matter, as I did here last summer. And , even though this one was in acrylic, some of these principles would help with other kinds of paint. If you want to see some of my winter trees, see here.
10 Replies to “Best Trees I Ever Painted”
The result is fantastic. Congrats. Beautiful trees.
Thank you so much, Olga!
Wonderful, Margaret ~ splendid watercolour tress 🎨
Thank you Phil – it’s a very useful technique to know!
Excellent use of water colour! Well shared 💕😊👌
Lovely trees…I struggle with them as well. In the lessons I have taken on painting trees in watercolors, the instructors do the trunks first, then foliage, then smaller limbs and twigs. I guess each must have their own way of doing things.
Thank you, KT. I think you’re right, but my trees sometimes looked a bit stiff when I painted tree trunk first. However these are only samples, the approach might have to be different in a larger composition.
I think we all have to practice and find what works best for us.