View Full Version : Painting skies behind tree branches

03-03-2017, 08:53 AM
How would you all go about painting the sky vs trees? Sky first? Tree? Go back and forth?http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Mar-2017/225111-DSCF4477.JPG

03-03-2017, 09:42 AM
With bare trees like this, I would definitely paint the sky and clouds first. Of course, as you put the tree branches in, there will probably still be some back and forth. If the trees were full of leaves, then painting the trees first and putting in "sky holes" would definitely be a possible approach - although I always prefer putting the sky in first.

If you have trouble layering the tree branches over the sky colored pastel, then you might also consider doing the sky with a wet underpainting. A wet underpainting will give you a less dusty layer to work on.


Donna T
03-03-2017, 01:11 PM
Also, if you do a wet underpainting it's possible to go back and forth with the sky color and let the underpainting alone stand in for the tiniest branches. If the color and value of the underpainting is correct for the tree tops you can suggest a few branches with tree-colored pastel and carve a little sky color in and around them. This gives a soft, natural look to the treetops and adds a dimension of depth too.

03-04-2017, 08:54 AM
Thank you, Don and Donna. The idea of a wet underpainting really helps in this instance. I'm super excited to be going to an Albert Handell mentoring program in October, and I want to be ready to get the most out of it that I can. Can't wait to see how he works!

03-04-2017, 01:02 PM
Back and forth, definitely. Painting the sky first is great. That gets you the main areas. But in painting trees, it's important to put sky holes in to lighten them up. One trick for this that reflects something real in nature and eyesight is to emulate halation - the way the twigs look with light streaming through them - by making the "sky holes" one value step darker than the sky in an area outside the tree form.

I do the trees by blocking in an area. If it's a bare tree I may simplify the branches and just draw them in across the sky. But if it has foliage, sky holes are important to break up that solid mass of foliage so it doesn't look like I shoved a kneaded eraser onto a toothpick and sprayed it green.

03-08-2017, 03:57 PM
Back and forth! Lay in the trees so you know where they are, then put the sky in. when you work the trees, you'll have to go back and forth with tree and sky.

Richard Schmid wrote that he likes to work from the background forward in landscape, and that's a good approach because it solves a lot of edge problems. Put things in front of things they are supposed to be in front of.

But you definitely have to go in and add skyholes.
(which I always thought sounded like a good insult. :p )